Completion of the first phase of Good Ground Park, long-awaited in Hampton Bays, culminated with a flag-raising ceremony Friday and festivities Saturday catering to children, including a petting zoo and face painting.
State legislators, elected officials and residents gathered at the 36-acre park off Squiretown Road in Hampton Bays on Friday for a flag-raising ceremony.
State Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), Suffolk County Legis. Bridget Fleming (D-Southampton), former Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Southampton Town Board members attended.
In addition to the children’s activities, residents were able to enjoy live music and dance performances at the new amphitheater.
But the excitement was short-lived. The park will close again immediately as construction begins on the second phase. It is expected to open in the summer.
Southampton Town purchased the land in 2003 for $3.5 million in community preservation funds with the intention of developing a community park. A three-phase construction of the park started in February, with nearly $2 million in state grants going toward the park’s development.
Hampton Bays Schools Superintendent Lars Clemensen hailed the park’s opening as a “new beginning.”
“It’s a place for my students to go that is safe and that is worthy of the community,” he said.
Kevin McDonald, a Hampton Bays resident and conservation finance and policy director for The Nature Conservancy on Long Island, said he had been looking forward to the park’s construction for years.
“This is a rare moment that we should all enjoy,” McDonald said.