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Civic group to add blue stripe on Peconic Lane to support our police

10/28/2016 6:00 AM |

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Every year, the Kenney’s/McCabe’s Beach Civic Association tries to do something for its community.

The organization of roughly 400 homes in Peconic, about half of which are part-time residents, have set up flags on neighbor’s lawns and sent donations to charities in the past, said vice president John Kassimatis. But in 2016, as a national conversation about policing reaches a fever pitch, the group decided on a new “nice gesture” — painting a blue line between the double yellow lines on Peconic Lane near the Southold Town police station.

“We thought the police … needed a little support,” Mr. Kassimatis, a retired cop, said. “When you’re a cop most people are either cursing at you, yelling at you or trying to beat you up.”

At a board meeting last week, civic group president John Betsch pitched the idea as a way to back up local police officers.

The group had originally thought of painting the line on Main Road, but realized the idea would need the state’s approval. To get around any red tape, Mr. Betsch brought the idea directly to Town Board members, who have the authority to sign off on having a local road painted.

Peconic Lane, the closest street to the police department headquarters and several other town properties, was chosen as the location for the blue line.

The idea was inspired in part by similar showings of support by townships in New Jersey this summer. The painted lines are meant to represent camaraderie and unity with police, said Rodney J. Sawyer, police chief of Mantua Township, in an interview with NJ.com.

“We actually like each other, so we talked to each other and the idea was floated amongst the executive board,” Mr. Kassimatis said.

The paint was paid for with the civic group’s reserves stocked with membership dues. While many are part-time residents, Mr. Kassimatis said the people of Kenney’s and McCabe’s beaches feel a deep connection to Southold Town.

“They might be part-time residents with all the ambitions to be full-time residents,” he said. “More and more retire, get rid of their house up the island, and retire to Southold.”

The special blue paint was delivered earlier this week, said town highway superintendent Vincent Orlando. Mr. Orlando said highway crews did a test and found it was too cold to paint. With rain forecast for later in the week, the painting is expected to be completed sometime in early November, he said.

Photo caption: This photo shows a similar line that was painted in New Jersey earlier this year. (Credit: Township of Mantua Courtesy Photo)

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