Springs CAC Wants To See More Playing Fields At Home

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The Springs Citizens Advisory Committee is pushing East Hampton Town to help create more recreational fields in Springs for volleyball, soccer and baseball games.

At its monthly meeting on Monday night, members of the committee discussed different parcels that could be used for such activity, including the old brush dump on Abrahams Path and Accabonac Road, which is part of the Accabonac Preserve purchased with town Community Preservation Fund money.

According to CAC Chairwoman Loring Bolger, the land is one of the largest parcels in Springs but is not flat and would need to be leveled to be used for sports fields.

Last week, it was announced at the East Hampton Town Board work session that the brush dump is being considered as a possible location for a solar energy system. As part of the town’s participation in a solar energy feed-in tariff initiative with Public Service Electric and Gas Company, private renewable energy companies would rent land from the town on which to place their solar energy systems. The brush dump was cited as a possibility.

“We’re all very concerned the land would be used for that as opposed to recreational uses, but I met with Supervisor Larry Cantwell this afternoon, and he assured me that this is not necessarily the case,” Ms. Bolger said. “He encouraged the committee to identify exactly where in the 21-acre parcel we would like to put the playing fields, and he would consider that.” She said Mr. Cantwell is very much in favor of putting in more playing fields around town.

The committee is brainstorming about other possible locations for recreational fields. Prospects include spots near Maidstone Park toward the end of the loop where Three Mile Harbor goes in, at the Springs Youth Association park on Old Stone Highway, at a property bordering Springs-Fireplace Road and Talmage Farm Road, which has a bike trail, and on some of the acreage at the Springs School.

Ms. Bolger said the Springs School may come up with a plan to share some of its land to put toward the town’s recreational fields. Springs School Board president Liz Mendelman is expected to attend the next meeting and discuss the school’s take on the project.

According to CAC member Reg Cornelia, Springs has the least open space in East Hampton Town because of its density. He said 30 percent of the town’s population lives in Springs, but only 20 percent of it is open space.

Ms. Bolger said that’s why they want to keep what they’ve got.

Mr. Cornelia said that open space in Springs has increased, however, from 9 percent in the 1990s, when he started working with the town on a committee to preserve open space.

The committee also spoke about taking better care of Pussy’s Pond by clearing out invasive phragmites and getting rid of dead trees and brush there that could become a fire hazard, if not simply an eyesore, if not cleared up.

The members agreed to write to the Town Board requesting that the East Hampton Town Natural Resources Department put a plan in motion to clear up the pond.

Zachary Cohen, the chairman of the town’s Nature Preserve Committee, said that Kim Shaw, head of Natural Resources, is currently looking into a grant that would help the town clear the phragmites.

Committee member Heather Anderson stressed the importance of getting the pond cleaned up as soon as possible.

“It’s probably a long battle, a never-ending battle, like things with the environment are, but we’re going to lose this pond,” she said.

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