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Veterans, Artists Will Have To Share

Police will shut down traffic to accommodate a parade and ceremony on the green on the same day an art show will be taking place over Memorial Day weekend.

The East Hampton Town Board said it will allow both , after hearing from both sides over the past three weeks.

While the Montauk Veterans Association wanted exclusive use of the area in the center of the downtown, where the flag-pole and a memorial for veterans is located, the board wants the vets to share with the Montauk Artists Association 5th annual juried art show on Saturday and Sunday. A formal vote will take place on Thursday.

At a work session on Tuesday, Councilman Dominick Stanzione, who is the liaison to Montauk, said with Town Police Chief Ed Ecker that offers a solution for both groups that applied for Mass Gathering Permits to use the park.

The art show would get less of the green than it has in the past, leaving space around the monument for veterans activities, like informational sandwich boards on Saturday, Stanzione said. A parade was scheduled on Sunday, as to not interfere with the East Hampton Memorial Day parade on Monday. Stanzione proposed that the veterans march from Second House Museum down to and around the circle and end on the green. The police department will shut down traffic, for three hours, around the circle to allow for more room for onlookers during a ceremony on the green.

The art show is not scheduled for Monday. Veterans would have complete use of the green for flag-raising and flag disposal ceremonies, among other activities.

"It's not a perfect solution, but I think it's a solution that provides the community with a demonstration of cooperation," Stanzione said.

All of the board members were in agreement that they had immense respect for the veterans. Councilwoman Sylvia Overby said she just felt a compromise would serve the community best.

"To me, there is no conflict between the two groups," Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc said, adding that he thought both would benefit from sharing the space. "It gives people an opportunity to remember."

Ken Walles, the lead organizer of the veteran festivities, had been privy to Stanzione and Ecker's proposal before Tuesday and supported it, but said he had to bring the proposal back to the committee of about 12 members and get back to the board. 

"While you're not gleeful at this proposal, you find it acceptable?" Stanzione said in trying to characterize Walles' position, to which Walles agreed.

But, another member of the veterans' group, Tom Bogdan, said he felt the two groups on the green would not work. "The green is too small for both," he said, adding that it would also be too noisy. "What you recommend is chaos." 

He had proposed, in writing, to the board that if the veterans were to compromise, they would move off the green this year, in the hopes the town board grant the veterans exclusive use of the green in future years. The board was not amenable to that stipulation.

Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, who said he is going to recuse himself from a vote on the Mass Gathering Permits at Thursday night's meeting due to his veteran status, said he wants to have a conversation with all groups that use the green sometime this fall. There has been an underlying discussion that the green shouldn't be used for .

Karin Gosman February 29, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I understand you are raising funds for your organization, which is an asset to the community. I'm not sure how individual artists don't benefit, they are selling their work. There are not-for profit organizations who use other locations (Montauk Historical Society comes to mind) and tourists and locals alike are able to seek them out to show support. What is the problem with using the Town owned soccer field? It provides parking and is very close to the Green.
Glyn Erwin February 29, 2012 at 07:07 PM
tHE DISPLAYING ARTISTS PAY THE ARTISTS ASSOCIATION FOR THE SPACE THEY USE TO DISPLAY THEIR WORKS WHETHER THEY SELL THEM OR NOT. HOWEVER IF THEY DON'T SELL ANYTHING THEY WON'T COME BACK AND THE ASSOCIATION WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO MEET THEIR OBLIGATIONS. USING THE SOCCOR FIELD WOULD BE LIKE COMPARING A MAIN STREET TO A BACK ALLY.
Penny Benbenek February 29, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Seems to be, that we, the local interests & opinions, are always pushed to the rear, when there's a buck to be made. Money is being made, whether it's in the form of a fundraiser for an artists association or artists themselves. When you're a daytripper heading to Montauk for the day, I'm sorry, but you have your plan mapped out in advance. You know where the activities you want to experience are because there's no lack of advertising & information available. It's not like anyone's asking the art show to be held in Amagansett for Pete's sake. It wouldn't be that hard to find. It wouldn't be that far off the beaten path. I'm just curious how the art show will be a benefit to the Veterans? What do they gain from it...besides hordes of people who have no intention of letting a somber event get in the way of their "weekend". Now, more than ever, with the troops coming home...it's important to honor the young people returning as well. Veteran's Day has new faces, new generations, new significance & they should all be shown the respect due them. Dual activities that have nothing to do with each other...is like having a party...at a funeral. Memorial Day weekend is a time to reflect...to be grateful to those who have given up their freedoms and art shows, to go and serve the United States. Those who have perished & those who can still receive our appreciation. (Cont'd below)
Penny Benbenek February 29, 2012 at 08:05 PM
There's at least 14 other weekends to choose from for an art show, where there wouldn't be a conflict I'm sure. If the Veterans applied for the permit first, that should be honored. They did their homework...why should they be penalized?
Karin Wanag March 02, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Please start to plan Veteran's Day now. It's only 8 month away.

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