Southampton Town Parks and Recreation officials were busy this week, arranging to debut an updated Emma Rose Elliston Park later this month.
“After a year of demolition, construction, disability and water quality improvements,” began Parks Director Kristen Doulos, “we are happy to report that the project is complete, the park has never looked better, or been more accessible.”
Located at 40 Millstone Brook Road in the hamlet of North Sea, Elliston Park was established through the efforts of Joshua Edward Elliston and deeded to the Town in 1952, the year following his death. Named for his wife, who passed in 1933, the 55-acre parcel on Big Fresh Pond was part of the first land grant to the Town for conservation purposes. It is home to a wide variety of plants and wildlife, as well as a network of nature trails that stretch through Wolf Swamp Sanctuary to Scallop Pond and along Island Creek.
In 2021, the Southampton Town Board approved capital funding to remove the park’s existing retaining wall and replace it with one made of concrete masonry units and poured concrete steps. Around the same time, the Parks Department sought funding from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program in order to make improvements consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In October of 2022, the Parks Department began demolishing the existing timber retaining walls and stairs. “Most of them were dilapidated and starting to collapse,” reported Derryl Baumer, Assistant Town Parks Director. “Installation of the new retaining wall began this spring and it was completed in mid-June.” Backed by $52,000 in CDBG funding, contractors then began the ADA-related upgrades, which included a parking area with two handicapped spaces and an asphalt walking path. The path terminates at an accessible viewing area with both standard and ADA-compliant picnic tables overlooking the pond.
Finally, in August 2023, landscaping teams wrapped up the multi-phased project with the installation of rain gardens and erosion control measures funded with a $46,500 Water Quality Improvements Project grant provided by the Town’s Community Presentation Fund.
In addition to the outside firms hired to undertake specialized improvements, Doulos emphasized that the Town’s own Parks Maintenance staff were involved in nearly every facet of the site’s renovation. These included installing protective guards on the retaining wall tiers and staircases; installing handrails on the staircase guards; adding fences in the parking lot; creating the ADA-complaint picnic tables and refurbishing the existing ones; as well as general site cleanup and maintenance during and after construction.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially introduce the changes is currently set for September 20 at 9:30am.
For additional information, those interested may consult the Town’s website for the latest information on Emma Rose Elliston Park and all Southampton Town facilities by visiting www.southamptontownny.gov/parksrec