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Foundation presents plans for Montauk Playhouse Community Center

New design concept for the Montauk Playhouse Community

New design concept for the Montauk Playhouse Community Center lobby. It includes an Aquatic Center and Cultural Center. Credit: Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership

Proposed plans for the Montauk Playhouse Community Center, which could cost up to $8.5 million to build and be constructed with money collected through fundraisers, were presented Monday night during the hamlet's Citizens Advisory Committee meeting.

The center would be in the historic Montauk Playhouse building on Edgemere Street, a building constructed in 1929 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Half the structure has been renovated. If the concept becomes a reality, the rehabilitation of the building would be completed. The Town of East Hampton operates the renovated portion as a community center, which includes child and adult day care, fitness and physical therapy centers and a gymnasium.

Included in the proposal, prepared by the Manhattan-based Lee H. Skolnick Architecture and Design Partnership, are two distinct facilities on two floors within the playhouse building.

An Aquatic Center with a vaulted atrium ceiling would feature two pools -- one for fitness training and another for recreation. A flexible-use Cultural Center, including a two-story entry lobby, would provide space for events and activities such as theater productions, exhibits, art shows, live music performances and meetings.

A key part of the plan is for the new facilities to be "self-sustaining" through membership and other fees associated with the pool and other activities, and no funding to come from East Hampton Town or from taxpayers.

Tom Griffin, a board member of the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation, formed in 1999 to raise funds for the development of the historic playhouse, helped make Monday night's presentation. He noted that there had been other proposals discussed over the years, but that this one took into account the main concerns and desires expressed by Montauk residents.

"We're very excited about it and the look of it," Griffin said. He noted the plan is still in a preliminary stage and has not been submitted for official town board and other approvals.

Lisa DeVeglio, president of the foundation, said $2.5 million has been raised for the project, which is estimated to require at least another $5.5 million to $6 million.

Griffin said the estimate for operating the new facilities each year is about $800,000.

The Concerned Citizens of Montauk advises members of the East Hampton Town Board about matters of concern to hamlet residents.

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