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Taking the Long View

Posted on 09 April 2008

As a village, we in Sag Harbor are fortunate to be home to a number of civic and social organizations that rally, sometimes rabidly, around chosen causes, ideally serving our community as educational and communal resources for our very active residents.

Sometimes they are successful in this common endeavor. Sometimes they are not.

True success, we think, is found when these organizations provide real, substantive dialogue that informs the public in order to further our community — not misinforms in a show of zealotry.

Since its creation, we have watched with curiosity what the folks at Save Sag Harbor would do with their enormous popularity and financial support. The not-for-profit’s membership is in the thousands, nearing numbers reached by established not-for-profits on the East End who have been around for over a decade.

But membership numbers and resolutions do not equal action, which is why over the course of the last three months we have been more than pleased with how Save Sag Harbor has evolved into a community organization with some real teeth.

Save Sag Harbor has put its money where its mouth is, unveiling a planning compendium meant to educate the public and complement the village’s own zoning code revision. It came out in support of the restoration of the former Bulova Watchcase Factory – a decision we understand was not easy, nor popular in some factions of the community – after measured thought and debate on its own mission in the village.

Perhaps the most exciting development is the announcement of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Program forum at the close of this month. This is a creative, worthwhile concept to stimulate dialogue about an issue everyone in Sag Harbor seems willing to get behind – preventing our village from being swallowed whole in the name of national brand development and preserving the historic character of this special place.

Most important, and laudable, is the way Save Sag Harbor has chosen to chart its course with a deliberate goal of creating dialogue and seeking what is possible, without heavy handed mandates and decrees. We hope they continue this philosophy as the organization continues its evolution.

Save Sag Harbor seems to be taking the long view in its decision making process – a view not easily taken when trying to tackle emotional and difficult issues. We commend its board for their leadership. Whether or not we actually save Sag Harbor, we are at least pleased to have Save Sag Harbor in it. 

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