The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously voted to rename the to its former name, the Montauk County Park, during its session on Tuesday.
Legis. Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk, sponsored the legislation, which also included the formal naming of Third House and naming the main room in the building after the president whose name is being taken off the park sign.
Schneiderman said the renaming of the park was the right thing to do for history's sake. "To keep the park named after Theodore Roosevelt is revisionist review of history," he said on Wednesday.
The park was given Roosevelt's name in 1997, ahead of the county park's centennial celebration of the Rough Riders' landing in Montauk in 1898. The troops were quarantined with yellow fever during the Spanish American War Roosevelt in Montauk, and Roosevelt visited them at Camp Wyckoff, located at .
However, there is no evidence Roosevelt ever visited the area that is now a 1,000-acre park that includes beachfront, fresh-and salt-water fishing, campgrounds, hiking, and horseback riding.
"What are we suposed to say, the park is named after Theodore Roosevelt because he might have visited?," Schneiderman said.
Barring a veto from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, the park will be officially renamed, perhaps with a ceremony, Schneiderman said, when the sign is ready.
The issue was first brought to his attention three years ago, when Dick White, who is on the board of directors for the Montauk Historical Society and is the East Hampton Town representative to the Suffolk County Parks Trustee Board.
White said on Wednesday that the Concerned Citizens of Montauk initially asked the trustees to rename the park in the interest of history. "I'm delighted we now have it named Montauk County Park. It reflects the many uses of the park," White said.
The trustee board initially asked for the park to be renamed the Third House County Park, but Schneiderman said he objected to that. "The building itself wasn't the entirety of the park," he said. "I felt Montauk County Park was more inclusive," as it represents the Native American tribe, the Montauketts, as well.
Schneiderman said he added the other two aspects of the resolutions. Third House, which is the third house ever built in Montauk, was never formally designated that name.
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