The Southold Town Board discussed the topics of signs at beaches on Tuesday morning, considering during two separate conversations whether or not one main kiosk per beach – featuring information about the beach, the local habitat and more – was something they would like to move forward with.
Missy Weiss, an environmental educator with Group for the East End, and Lillian Ball – whose Waterwash display at Mattituck Inlet includes an educational kiosk – asked for the board's support as they plan on applying for a grant which would fund the signs, which they said would perform multiple roles.
Weiss said a bulletin board portion on the kiosk could be included to keep locals up to date about community events, civic association happenings and more. This, they said, could reduce the number of signs that some beaches have currently, all displaying information that could be condensed into one spot.
Other information such as how to keep their local waterbody clean and even serving as a meeting point for local events such as beach clean-ups or other gatherings would prove a benefit, they noted.
The two added that Riverhead Building Supply has already expressed suport for Kiosk Network on the Water, or KNOW – however board members expressed concern at the long-term idea of placing the kiosks on their property.
"It's exciting now, but then once they get old, people stop getting interested and then all of a sudden, they are still on town property," said Councilwoman Jill Doherty.
Ball noted that maintenance of the kiosks could potentially be organized through local civics, partnering throughout town to keep them in shape.
Supervisor Scott Russell added that due to the close timeline for the grant – 10 days away – no time was given for the town's Parks and Recreation committee to look at the plan and give their thoughts.
The board decided that should the grant funding come through, a decision to work out details could be made at a later date.
Goldsmith's Inlet Sign Waiting for Green Light
Immediately after Weiss and Ball asked for board support for their plan, Town Planner Mark Terry and Alan Kraus, representing the Group to Save Goldsmith Inlet, asked for support for a sign they already have funding for.
- Related: Waterwash project at Goldsmith's Inlet in planning stages
Locals surrounding the Peconic inlet – which, unlike the locations Weiss and Ball pitched, is not an official town beach – have been working with the town for several years in an attempt to clean up the waterbody, and part of a previous Environmental Protection Fund grant they received called for the installation of a project sign.
Terry said there is no rush with the Goldsmith's Inlet sign, however.
"I guess the town board has to decide if it wants the signs to be consistent in structure and materials, or if they want to allow the Goldsmith Inlet sign to continue on as a pilot project and figure out how the Long Island Sound Study effort will fit in with this."
Correction: This article originally stated that Kenney's-McCabe's Beach Civic Association was in support of placing kiosks at town beaches. The group has taken no official position as of yet.