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State buys Southold Old Barge site for boat launch

Town Beach is on North Road and overlooks

Town Beach is on North Road and overlooks the Long Island Sound. During the summer, restrooms, a picnic area and playground are available for visitors. (Feb. 16, 2011) Credit: Erin Geismar

The 3.2-acre waterfront property off Old Main Road in Southold that once was the site of the Old Barge restaurant — now closed for three years — has been purchased by the state and will be turned into a boat and canoe access point to Peconic Bay by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

It will be the first boat access facility to the bay for the DEC on the North Fork, and will contain ramps for boats, canoes and kayaks as well as a wash-down station and other amenities for the public. DEC officials said it would likely take several years to construct the facility.

The property, worth about $2 million, was acquired without spending state funds, according to DEC spokeswoman Aphrodite Montalvo. She said the funds came from a Federal Aid in Sports Fish Restoration grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service and a grant of about $500,000 from the Carl D. and Helen Reiter family, as well as a donation from the Reiter-Denson family.

The Denson family purchased the waterfront property on Peconic Bay in 1938, and brought in a World War II ammunition barge to use as a fishing station. That eventually became the Old Barge restaurant.

Carol Denson, who manages the property, told DEC officials that her family — commercial fishermen by trade — values public access and supports the state’s efforts to develop the property so people can get to the water.


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