Southampton Town has breathed new life into the former United States Coast Guard Life-Saving Station at Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays, with its historic restoration currently underway. But the town board will soon be holding a work session to discuss how it proceed with other aspects of the revival that might not be covered using money from the Community Preservation Fund.
The building, which once served as a Coast Guard Life-Saving Station that was entirely manned by African Americans, and later Neptune’s Night Club from the 1980s up until it closed in 2013, was purchased by the town for $3.2 million under the Community Preservation Fund in 2014.
Town officials would like to have a walk-in museum inside the building, and possibly some kind of food concession, not to mention beach access for visitors. However, not all of the work suggested for the building can be paid for using community preservation funds, particularly anything involving the placement of a kitchen, whether it will be a full-service kitchen with a working stove to allow the serving of hot food, or something smaller only requiring the refrigeration or pre-prepared food, officials said.
Before any plans proceed, there would need to be a discussion of the “full town board” in a work session, said Councilman John Bouvier. “There are a whole bunch of things that need to be discussed,” he said.
Other aspects of the project that need to be discussed include how large the outside deck will be and how many tables could be placed there for visitors to eat at, as well as what will happen with an outdoor bar that was added to the building, he said.
Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera, who visited the site with Bouvier two weeks ago, said additional funds to rehab the property could come from the town’s general fund.
“I think that we are going to get back to the board and ask, ‘Where do you see this going?’ in terms of the services,” she said.
The property has undergone an extensive $963,000 stabilization and exterior restoration. So far, all of the building non-historic rooms, decking, and reproduction windows, which were added by Neptune’s owners, have been razed. Other tweaks include the reframing of the building’s walls, new electric wiring, and the addition of its crowning glory — a reproduction watchtower. Engineers plan to finish the project by the end of summer 2019.