Former Neptune club to become museum, boardwalk
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A museum and the town's first oceanside boardwalk will replace the once popular party spot Neptune Beach Club, which Southampton purchased Tuesday for $3.2 million.
The town board voted unanimously Tuesday to commit up to $1.2 million to rehab the club as a museum dedicated to the African American Coast Guard station that was there originally.
They also plan to build a 500-foot-long boardwalk to the town-owned Tiana Activity Center next door.
The revamped facility, acquired from Neptune Beach Club Inc., will seek to preserve the station's history as one of the earliest Coast Guard Stations staffed by blacks, according to the town's resolution, which was introduced at the meeting. According to the Coast Guard, an African-American crew manned what was called Coast Guard Lifeboat Station Tiana during between 1942 and 1944.
The board plans to use Community Preservation Funds, which have typically gone toward open space preservation, but can also be used for historical preservation projects, said Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.
The money would be used to restore the building's original look and construct the boardwalk, which would run from the former Neptune site, which the seller says was a station in the late 1800s, to the adjacent town-owned Tiana center. The center also was a night club that was the source of complaints before the town bought the building.
Throne-Holst said there would be a concession, which she described as a cross between a snack bar and a restaurant, outside the old Neptune's building.
"We wanted to maintain public access here and for it to be an attraction to the area," she said. The project will be called the Tiana Beach Boardwalk -- Museum and Cultural Pavilion.
The town had been discussing for months purchasing the Dune Road location and its 2.78 acres. Neighbors had complained about daytime drunkenness and poor behavior by patrons, though some supporters remembered it as a landmark for youths from points west.
Some residents had pushed for the building to be turned back into natural dunes, or for the building to be kept vacant for a period of time.
The resolution for the museum and boardwalk was introduced by Councilman Jim Malone, who said he wanted to commit the town to preserving the history before he leaves office on Dec. 31.