With donations slow to trickle in, Southampton Village will now front the money for the restoration of the World War I monument at Agawam Park — before deterioration of the stone monument progresses and accelerates more.
Mayor Mark Epley said at a Village Board meeting Thursday that the monument is in horrible shape, and only getting worse. And now another winter is soon to arrive, when water can get into existing cracks, freeze and expand.
Deferring maintenance will add to the cost of restoration, so the village cannot put off the restoration any longer, Epley said.
The village began seeking donations more than two years ago, but did not get the response that was needed; fundraising has only brought in $27,000 so far.
The Village Board voted 4-0 Thursday to accept the lowest of three bids for the project, $284,000.
The bid came from A. Ottavino Corp., of Ozone Park, which specializes in repairing, restoring and building stone monuments and buildings, according to a letter from Paul Rogers of Chaleff & Rogers Architects, which is aiding the village with the restoration project.
The monument was dedicated on Aug. 19, 1923, and was first renovated in 1993, according to a village brochure. The future restoration aims to repair cracks and holes in the limestone, and address drainage issues that exacerbates deterioration. Limestone steps and pavers will be replaced, and granite pavers will be removed and saved.
Epley said he is in talks with Braun Marketing, of Southampton, about a new fundraising campaign, and Trustee Richard Yastrzemski said the local Boy Scout troop has expressed interest in helping.