The New York Regional Economic Development Council is awarding the Town of Southampton $350,000 in grants to fund two improvement projects in Hampton Bays.
The first grant for $300,000 will preserve the Shinnecock Commercial Fishing Dock, home to the second largest fishing fleet in New York state. Suffolk County turned over sole ownership of the dock to the town last year, but it was still in need of many long overdue repairs to improve safety and operations.
“This funding comes at a critical time as we work to make vital improvements to the Shinnecock Dock,” town parks director Kristen Doulos said. “We want to make the dock a safe place for the fishing vessels and for the men and women who work extremely hard to keep the commercial fishing industry alive.”
The state also awarded the town $50,000 for the Hampton Bays downtown overlay district wastewater treatment plant study. The town is currently working on revitalization plans for the hamlet’s downtown business district.
A sewage treatment plant is an important part of Hampton Bays’ revitalization, according to town officials. The plant would be a state-of-the-art facility that provides advanced sewage treatment — including significant nitrogen removal to protect groundwater and public health — and would be equipped with odor control technologies. It is expected that as properties are redeveloped, existing substandard cesspools and septic systems would be removed or abandoned in accordance with Suffolk County Department of Health Services requirements. These projects would connect to the plant, thereby protecting and improving overall groundwater quality. The grant will fund the engineering plan needed to make it a reality.
“It is our goal in the Town of Southampton to promote smart growth and preserve and protect the environment,” assistant town planning director Janice Scherer said. “This all comes together in the central business district of Hampton Bays, where we are working to revitalize the downtown, and at the same time remove antiquated sanitary systems and cesspools that contribute to the groundwater and nitrogen issues of Shinnecock and Tiana bays.”