Hampton Bays park plan gets $128,519 boost from state

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Southampton has received a $128,519 state grant to fund the planning and design of a park near the heart of Hampton Bays.

Good Ground Park will be a central part of efforts to rejuvenate downtown Hampton Bays, officials said.

"This is a giant step forward for downtown revitalization for Hampton Bays," Frank Zappone, deputy supervisor for Southampton, said Monday. "It's commensurate with having a village green in the center of town."

The grant was part of the $83 million given to 98 projects in Nassau and Suffolk counties announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week through regional economic development councils.

Plans for the park include an amphitheater, playground, picnic tables and pavilion.

Zappone said the money would be used for the design work, which will be publicly bid early in 2014. He expected construction on the $2.5 million to $3 million park to start in 2015. He said the town would apply for next year's round of state grants.

He compared the concept for Hampton Bays to Agawam Park in Southampton Village or Marine Park in Sag Harbor. The park could bring in concerts, cultural events, farmers markets, flea markets and craft fairs. "It provides an opportunity to draw many people into town."

The park would be near Montauk Highway and Ponquogue Avenue.

Supporters had gathered 45 letters of support and more than 200 petition signatures from local business owners, community groups, the school district and individual residents.

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The town's Community Preservation Fund purchased the Good Ground Park parcel in 2003.

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