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Renovations in store for Ludlam Avenue Park in Riverside

09/27/2016 6:00 AM |

Ludlam

Ludlam Avenue Park in Riverside could receive up to $250,000 in funding for renovations through a portion of the state budget designated for a community project in that area of Southampton Town, officials said.

The park emerged as a leading contender among a handful of other potential projects, some of which it turns out aren’t being done or aren’t eligible for the funding.

Ron Fisher, president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Civic Association, said at the group’s Sept. 12 meeting that an estimated $175,000 to $225,000 is needed for improvements at the park.

The plans for Ludlam include a completely new playground to replace the current one, which he said is in bad shape.

Also proposed are conversion of one of baseball field to a soccer field and changing the tennis court into courts for basketball and pickleball.

“I know when I was little, Ludlam Avenue was the place to be,” Mr. Fisher said. “Everything was there and every kid from Flanders was there for summer camp. It was incredible. I go there now, and nobody’s there. It’s run down; it’s not as nice as it used to be. The youth center doesn’t meet there for anything anymore and Flanders Little League moved out so the fields are unused. It’s been going downhill.”

Pickleball is popular in other areas, especially with people over 50, he said.

“Tennis is not popular in this neck of the woods,” he said. “Nobody’s playing tennis and people are stealing the nets and using them for soccer. The ballfields are being used as a soccer field.”

FRNCA members said they want to get more input form the community before deciding what to do. Siris Barrios of Riverside Rediscovered, which is overseeing plans to redevelop that community, said she plans to do some door-to-door surveys for more input.

State Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) said in an interview that the money is only in the state budget for this year, so community members will need to decide soon.

“They do have to get going,” he said.

Improvements at Wildwood Park in Northampton were also being considered for the funding but those are only estimated at about $4,000, Mr. Fisher said.

Other plans no longer being considered, Mr. Fisher said, include constructing a crosswalk by the 7-Eleven on Flanders Road, restoring the Big Duck water view and completing a portion of the proposed maritime trail from Route 24 to Peconic Bay in Riverside. He explained that the state Department of Transportation won’t allow a crosswalk on that part of Flanders Road because there’s no traffic signal, that the maritime trail is on county property where the town doesn’t yet have permission to do anything, and that the Big Duck property was purchased with Community Preservation Funds, which restricts what can be done there.

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