Town hearings planned for recreation needs, Peconic School uses

Southold Town is seeking input on residents’ recreation needs at two public forums in the next two weeks. The first forum will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. and the second will be held on Wednesday, August 31 at 2 p.m. at the town’s recreation center on Peconic Lane.

The forums are intended to both help the town decide how best to utilize space at the new Peconic Community Center in the former Peconic School and to help the town draft the third chapter of its new comprehensive plan, said the town’s special projects coordinator Phillip Beltz in an interview this week.

The comprehensive plan’s third chapter focuses exclusively on parks and recreation.

Mr. Beltz said that he is looking for input from a broad section of the community on recreation needs ranging from arts-oriented indoor programs to the use of town fields and hiking trails. He added that the town is looking for fresh perspectives on what the recreation needs here are, since the last time the town prepared a list of recreation needs was in the 1980s.

“We’re looking at sharing with the residents what some previous recommendations were,” said Mr. Beltz. “We’ll talk about perceived obstacles to using the recreation facilities and share a laundry list of the programs we offer and a list of programs that other municipalities have offered that we haven’t offered. There will also be an open mic for ideas, to lay the groundwork to see what people would like to see currently and in the future.”

Mr. Beltz estimated that the meetings will last 60 to 90 minutes.

He said that the last recreation survey was taken before the town’s Parks & Recreation Department was established in 1987. It called for the development of bicycle paths, nature trails and parkland, as well as a year-round recreational facility with a swimming pool.

With the exception of a pool, Mr. Beltz said that many of those recommendations have already been met.

The town is also conducting a survey of residents’ needs which will likely be distributed to local schools when they are in session this fall.

The survey can also be taken online through the end of September at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=xWIngJhwqmroG8BQuFin%2fA%3d%3d.

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