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 .