After a six-year effort, the hope for Sports East athletic facility in Southold comes to an end

In December 2016 – six years ago this month – the Southold Zoning Board of Appeals ruled that the Sports East athletic facility proposed for Main Road in Mattituck did not meet the definition of a membership club. They rejected the application.

As a result, developer Paul Pawlowski’s efforts to build such a facility came to a disappointing end for those who wanted a first-class place with an indoor swimming pool in Southold Town.

Hoping to save the project, Supervisor Scott Russell and the town board stepped in and acquired a 10-acre property in Peconic for Sports East. Everything seemed back on track.

Now, the hope for such a facility in the town has, once again, come to an end.

In a statement, Mr. Pawlowski said he will not be moving ahead with Sports East.

“While the effort and passion has been there for my partners, along with the support from the town board members, in the past 8-12 months the economics do not make sense as the capital investment needed has more than doubled and almost tripled with inflation and interest rates,” he said.

“Also, while there has been support by the Town Board and Planning Board, publicly there has been tremendous scrutiny, and we feel that a recreation center, if possible, should be done with public funding, with fundraising, and with public input for what should be included, the pricing, membership fees, etc.”

In his statement, Mr. Pawlowski said he would be proceeding with one aspect of the Peconic project: the construction of workforce housing on five-acres at the site.

“We are continuing on with that approval process,” he said. “We want to thank everyone that has supported us.”

Last March, Mr. Pawlowski said a first-class sports facility was desperately needed in Southold. “We live in this town, we have kids that go to school in this town,” he said then.

He said he and his partners were eager to build it, with pool time offered to the public and to Southold schools for swim teams.

In a statement, Mr. Russell said he had been told Mr. Pawlowski was not moving forward.

“The cost and difficulty of getting the building materials and all other cost drivers make it not feasible for him,” Mr. Russell said. “He will be going to move forward with the affordable housing project on the five acres next to it, though. We will retain and hold the remaining five acres in the hope that a recreational facility can be built at some point.”