After struggling to raise enough money to cover even a tenth of the cost of the project, Southampton Village received a check late last year for $100,000 toward the restoration of the World War I monument at Agawam Park
David Walentas, of Two Trees Management Company, a New York-based real estate development firm, made the sizable donation, which covers more than a third of the cost.
The Village Board voted in September to accept a $284,000 bid to restore the monument.
Village Administrator Stephen Funsch said the village raised $30,000 on its own toward the cost, then enlisted Braun Marketing for a direct mail campaign. The fundraising pleas were mailed out before Christmas, and $42,000 has been received so far, with more money trickling in, Funsch said.
Because the rate of deterioration of the monument is increasing, and the costs of restoration were only rising, the Village Board agreed to borrow the remaining money needed for the project, to be paid back later by donors. Rather than wait for all the money to be raised, the work could begin immediately.
Walentas and his wife, Jane, split their time between Brooklyn and their Bridgehampton farm, Two Trees Stables, according to his company website. His farm is the location of the summer's Bridgehampton Polo series.
The Walentas will be recognized during the village's annual Memorial Day ceremony.
The monument was dedicated on Aug. 19, 1923, and was first renovated in 1993, according to a village brochure. The restoration aims to repair cracks and holes in the limestone, and address drainage issues that exacerbate deterioration. Limestone steps and pavers will be replaced, and granite pavers will be removed and saved.