East Hampton Village Trustee Hits the Ground Running

With ‘much to learn’ Rose Brown’s summer is all reports and reconnaisance
A month into her first term on the East Hampton Village Board, Rose Brown is full of ideas and enthusiasm for the work ahead. Jamie Bufalino

In the first month since being sworn in as a member of the East Hampton Village Board, Rose Brown has promoted changes she proposed during her campaign, such as taking steps to clean up the business district and Herrick Park. 

As part of an educational process, “I’ve gone over the budget line by line with Becky,” Ms. Brown said, referring to Becky Molinaro Hansen, the village administrator. “And I’ve been trying to meet with as many department heads as I can because there’s so much to learn.” 

These days, Ms. Brown said, her beach reading consists of water quality reports, and her morning strolls have turned into reconnaissance missions. “I go through the village early, before the guys are out on the street cleaning up, and I’m stunned by the amount of stuff that people leave behind.” 

Ms. Brown has been appointed the board’s liaison to the village’s Department of Public Works, a role that will give her a chance, she said, to focus on many of her campaign pledges. One issue she raised repeatedly as a candidate was the haphazard distribution of free magazines and give-away paperwork at storefronts. A law was introduced that attempts to bring order to the dispersal of such materials at the July 31 Village Board meeting. “I’m very pleased, I think the legislation is going to be a good first step,” she said. 

She and Scott Fithian, the superintendent of the Department of Public Works, have taken trips around the village, discussing ways to make it more pristine. One of their outings, she said, was to Herrick Park, which, during her campaign, she had cited as in dire need of improvement. 

She has now recommended changes that could be made immediately, such as adding nets to the bare rims on the basketball courts, and is looking to embark on a more long-term effort that would include refurbishing the tennis courts, repairing fences, sprucing up the landscaping, and extending the park to incorporate 25 Muchmore Lane, a property East Hampton Town purchased on the village’s behalf last year. 

“I’m hoping to do a Herrick Park beautification project,” she said. To that end, she plans to enlist the Ladies Village Improvement Society, the Village Preservation Society, the Garden Club of East Hampton, and possibly the school district, which uses the park for its middle school sports. “I want to get a committee together, maybe include some local landscape architects to get their feedback, and really devise a plan to improve it,” she said. 

 Mr. Fithian and Ms. Brown have also discussed instituting weekly “deep cleaning” of the sidewalks of Newtown Lane and Main Street. “He and I thought it would be a good idea to blow the little garbage, like cigarette butts and leaves, into the street and bring the sweeper through to pick it up.”

Looking at the near future, Ms. Brown said the use of gas-powered leaf blowers and deer management would be on the board’s agenda. Other parts of her platform, such as improving water quality, increasing affordable housing, and instituting a law mandating low-nitrogen septic systems for all new construction and major renovations, are likely to take longer to tackle, she said. 

In the meantime, Ms. Brown has been focusing on ways to make the village more user-friendly. For example, in an attempt to address the village’s “unending demand and need” for parking, she is exploring ways to extend the time allowed for parking in the Reutershan lot from two hours to three. She also is looking into having Wi-Fi available at village beaches, and has asked Ms. Molinaro to add her official email address to the village’s website to make it easier for residents to provide suggestions and feedback. In addition, after having fielded several questions about excessive noise during the summer, a link to the pertinent code now appears on the village home page.   

Summing up her first month as a trustee, Ms. Brown said, “I’ve hit the ground running, that’s for sure.”