The Veterans Memorial and gazebo area on the green in...

The Veterans Memorial and gazebo area on the green in downtown Montauk. (Feb. 27, 2012) Credit: Gordon M. Grant

The battle for the Montauk Green ended quietly last week, with paint brushes and palettes winning most of the field for the Memorial Day weekend. But local veterans vying for the space didn't walk away empty-handed.

Though the Montauk Veterans Association wanted to use the small community Green at the same time for a parade and a full program of solemn events over the holiday weekend, veterans got the biggest single thing they wanted -- a parade.

A compromise was struck after the East Hampton Town board failed on Tuesday to issue a permit to either group. The Montauk Artists' Association and the veterans' group then revisited a plan that would keep the artists in place while sharing some time with the veterans.

"The artists want to thank you so much for letting us share the Green with the veterans on Memorial Day," Rosa Hanna Scott, president of the artists' association, told the board.

The stage for a battle was set early this year, when both groups applied to use the Green for the same three days.

The artists' group has been running juried shows on the Green for more than a decade, while the local veterans held a parade last year that went past the Green and ended at a nearby park. The veterans wanted to expand the event this year with more activities, and some privately complained that the solemnity of their events was disturbed by noise from the art show.

It takes weeks to organize the art show, and those who pay $350 for a 12-by-12-foot space want to take full advantage of the event to sell their works. In an effort to give the veterans a little more room at the World War II memorial on the Green, the artists' group will be allowed to sell only 78 spaces, compared with the 84 it originally had wanted.

Scott said after Thursday's meeting that money raised at the event pays for free art classes and other group activities.

While no vote was taken on the parade, town officials said it would be approved soon, giving the veterans enough time to organize that event as well.

Gene Beckwith, a World War II Navy veteran, said the battle over the Green missed a very important point.

"All the veterans in Montauk should not be labeled as a villain," he said, adding that three days of events ignores the fact that the holiday should be observed on Memorial Day.

"It's celebrated in every city in the country on Monday," Beckwith said. "We honor the veterans in all of our towns, including Montauk."

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