By Emily Toy
Last month the Southampton Town Board approved purchasing Neptune's, a beachfront nightclub on Dune Road in Hampton Bays, for $3.2 million.
That amount will be taken from the town's Community Preservation Fund, with the notion of dedicating part of the former hotspot's 2.78 acres to a museum.
In order to dip in to CPF money, though, the town must prove the purchase of Neptune's has historic significance. Typically Community Preservation Funds are used toward open space preservation, but they can also be used for historical preservation projects.
Currently the town is working toward giving the former club and the surrounding property a landmark status, which in turn could possibly provide $500,000 in CPF money to reconstruct the building for the museum, slated to be erected in honor of the all-African American Coast Guard crew stationed there during World War II.
In addition to the museum, plans for constructing a boardwalk connecting the area to the Tiana Beach pavilion, as well as adding a beach concession stand, are also in the works.
The resolution for the museum and boardwalk was first introduced by former Councilman Jim Malone, who noted the locale was constantly plagued by noise as well as quality of life issues, and believes the newly constructed museum and boardwalk will have a positive impact on the neighborhood.
According to town officials, renovations for the building alone are expected to be about $1.2 million. The town board voted to commit to that amount in mid-December of last year.
According to the resolution presented at a December 10 town board meeting, "said property is designated in the Shinnecock Bay Target Preservation Area. This undeveloped stretch of barrier and marshland edging the Shinnecock Bay is a key component of the South Shore Reserve Estuary system . . . the property will be included in a Tiana park plan which will enhance access to the ocean beach, provide recreational, educational and historic resources . . ."
Sally Spanburgh, Chairperson of the town's Landmarks and Historic Districts Board, will make her landmark pitch for the property at next Tuesday's town board meeting.