The use of Southold’s athletic fields is expected to be in the spotlight during several public meetings in August to discuss the public’s needs and the town’s concerns about providing access to recreation facilities.
The town recently surveyed 118 residents to help determine local recreation needs, and Town Board members will discuss the results at a work session next Tuesday, Aug. 2.
Town special projects coordinator Philip Beltz said this week that the survey was undertaken in part to get a better idea of what kinds of recreational opportunities the town should offer at the soon-to-open Peconic Lane Community Center in the former Peconic School.
In addition to providing indoor recreation space, the Peconic School property also has four acres of fields that can be developed to suit the community’s needs.
According to Mr. Beltz, many survey respondents said they’d like to see the town place more emphasis on walking, hiking and biking paths and on providing space for the performing arts.
He said residents in the 10 to 14 and 50 to 64 age groups are well represented in the survey, but he added that the town hopes to get input from a broader cross section of the community at a series of public forums. These will be scheduled later in August in conjunction with the release of a draft chapter of the town’s new comprehensive plan that focuses on parks and recreation.
Mr. Beltz said field use will be a major component of the recommendations, because the town now has several soccer leagues and an ever-increasing number of young people who plan to play lacrosse but do not have field space to pursue their sport.
The town is currently considering using Community Preservation Fund money to buy farmland to create another athletic field.
“People want field activities,” he said, adding that the survey is just the start of the process of determining the town’s field acquisition needs.