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New Ball Fields Are Okayed

Thu, 04/14/2022 - 11:55

The East Hampton Town Board voted last Thursday to authorize the construction of two new playing fields at 110 Stephen Hand’s Path, part of the town’s relocation plan for the existing Little League fields on Pantigo Place in East Hampton. The existing fields will be displaced by Stony Brook Southampton Hospital’s freestanding emergency department and imaging and diagnostic center, for which the town board previously approved a lease with the Southampton Hospital Association.

The cost to construct the new, lighted ball fields and associated amenities has risen and is now estimated at up to $3.25 million. The association is responsible for the removal and demolition of the existing fields and is expected to spend up to $1.75 million toward the construction of new ones and amenities. The four of five board members present at last Thursday’s meeting voted to fund the balance with a $1.5 million bond issue. The bond resolution is subject to permissive referendum, meaning if enough signatures are collected opponents could force a public vote on it.

A playing fields relocation committee appointed in 2018 recommended, and the board agreed, that the new fields should be state-of-the-art playing fields comparable to those in larger municipalities to the west. The board bonded for $80,000 for the design and hired L.K. McLean Associates to begin that phase in November 2020.

The fields will be constructed at the site of the former Child Development Center of the Hamptons, where multiple recreational fields are already in use and restrooms and a parking field can be upgraded and expanded. The new fields will be integrated into the entire site, Tim Garneau of the committee previously told the board. The goal is to make a “parks and recreation campus” and a “true community center,” he said in January.

Plans call for synthetic field turf, which the committee said is favored over natural fields for reducing maintenance and reinstallation costs. Synthetic turf is in use at UpIsland fields where East Hampton’s Little Leaguers play. Whereas rain causes postponements in East Hampton, synthetic turf’s superior drainage allows game schedules to proceed uninterrupted, according to Mr. Garneau and Councilman David Lys.

The fields will also include dugouts, batting cages, and a storage shed. One is to include a synthetic turf infield and outfield and a fence around the outfield’s perimeter, 200 feet from home plate. The other will be entirely synthetic turf with multi-distance base lengths to accommodate different levels of play, and outfield fences at 210 feet in left and right fields and 225 feet in center field.

Also at last Thursday’s meeting, the board voted to issue a notice to bidders for the project. Bids are due by May 12.

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