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Montauk’s historic Fort Pond House opens to public Sunday

The Fort Pond House at Carol Morrison Park

The Fort Pond House at Carol Morrison Park in Montauk on May 31, 2016. The historic house, which underwent 18 months of renovation and restoration work, reopens to the public on Sunday, June 5, 2016. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Eighteen months of renovation and restoration work at the historic Fort Pond House at Carol Morrison Park in Montauk have been completed, with an official opening and return to community use to be celebrated with a gathering at the site on Sunday.

The public is invited to the free 2 p.m. event, which is to include refreshments and the opportunity to tour the house and park.

The $350,000 project included restoring the home’s foundation, replacing walls, refinishing the pine flooring, opening up the living area, removing old linoleum and carpets, and making bathrooms and hallways wheelchair accessible.

“I’m very excited about it,” said East Hampton Town Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, who was a leader in the yearslong battle to save the property from being sold by East Hampton to generate revenue.

Van Scoyoc said groups have already expressed interest in renting the property for meetings and other events. The Fort Pond House accommodates 44 people. For exclusive use, the park accommodates about 150 people.

“This is clearly a wonderful asset for Montauk and for the town,” Van Scoyoc said. “It’s been a long time [since the property was open to the public] and a lot of people are involved in making this happen.”

Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, who also helped block the original plan to sell the property, cited the variety of groups that want to rent the space for their gatherings and functions now that it will once again be available.

“It’s my understanding that they’re quite a few groups interested in using it — from music to the Boy Scouts.”

The park, located on a nearly 4-acre site in the Shepherd’s Neck area of Montauk and overlooking Fort Pond, is to be open every day from dawn until dusk. Fort Pond House, a bungalow built around 1925, will be open by appointment through the East Hampton Town Recreation Department.

East Hampton purchased the property in 2003 for $890,000 from its last owner, Lee Deadrick.

After the town’s purchase, the property was used for environmental education and art classes, and by groups and organizations including the Montauk Boy Scouts, Montauk Public School, Third House Nature Center and Hampton’s Shakespeare.

Fort Pond House was closed in 2010, designated as surplus property, and listed for sale. The resolution of sale was rescinded and three years later the property was named after environmentalist and Montauk resident Carol Morrison, who died in 2010.

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