The latest draft of a proposal for a waterfront park in Sag Harbor. Courtesy of Edmund Hollander.
By Mara Certic
After the discussion was reopened last year, a plan to develop a waterfront park under the Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge is moving forward.
The original proposal for a waterfront park in the area dates back to 1996, but was resurrected around this time last year. This summer, landscape architects Edmund Hollander and Mary Anne Connelly have been working with an intern, Rachel Jawin, a student at Cornell University, on adapting Mr. Hollander’s original plans from the 90s into what could become the new Sag Harbor Cove Park.
Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride brought Mr. Hollander’s latest mock-ups to a special meeting of the Sag Harbor Village Trustees on Monday morning to show his colleagues the progress that has been made on the proposal, which he described as “absolutely beautiful.”
According to Mr. Hollander, there are three goals this project is attempting to meet. The first is to open up a piece of waterfront to the community. The property in question is currently derelict, or as Mr. Hollander described it, “an amalgamation of abandoned buildings and debris.”
The second aim is to build the park in an ecologically friendly way, Mr. Hollander said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “What we’re trying to do is build the park using as many recycled materials as we can from other construction sites,” he said. Mr. Hollander hopes to recycle local plants from nearby areas, which he said would create a natural buffer. Mr. Gilbride said this was also a way to “save the village some money.”
The third goal is to connect some of Sag Harbor’s waterfront amenities together, creating a boardwalk under the bridge and theoretically around Long Wharf.
“It’s just a great project,” Mr. Gilbride said on Wednesday. “It certainly has the potential to tie the entire waterfront of the village in.”
“I cannot thank Mr. Hollander enough,” he added, several times. The plan is a “continual evolution,” Mr. Hollander said, and there are remain many questions that need to be answered before the proposal can move forward.
“There are questions about docks: should there be one? Two? Three? Should there be a fishing pier?” Mr. Hollander said. Mr. Gilbride said he has been considering the dock project “phase two” of the park, as it could be quite expensive.
“Before that could be productive we need to get [the area] cleaned up,” he said.
According to Mr. Hollander, the organization Serve Sag Harbor has shown interest in hosting a fundraiser to help support the project, but, if the proposal continues to go forward, the village will also be very much involved in funding the new park.
“It has the makings of a great welcome as you’re coming in over the bridge,” he added. Mr. Hollander will present the current proposal to the Sag Harbor Village Board at their next meeting on Tuesday, October 14 at 6 p.m.
Also on Monday morning, the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees decided to raise the price of memorial benches from $575 to $1000. The price of benches, Mr. Gilbride said, had not gone up in some time, and the new price seemed to reasonably represent how much material and labor cost to install the seats.
Trustees Ed Deyermond said he would support this but only if it were to replace or repair existing benches. Mr. Deyermond believes there are already too many benches in the village, he said, and suggested memorial trees might be more appropriate and appreciated.
The trustees also voted to allow members of the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce to have their tri-annual sidewalk sale this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, October 11 and 12.