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 28, 2012 at 10:46 PM
I 'm not sure why the Artist's Association have to use the Green. They should use (the soccer field) Town Property located next to the Movie theater. It provides parking.and it is still in the downtown area. The Green is too small to expect both groups to share.
Carl Darenberg February 28, 2012 at 10:53 PM
the exposure of the green helps the artist as well as the town all the events do much better on the green as what it is there for
Carole Campolo February 29, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Having attended today's Town Board meeting I want to thank the Town Board members (Mr. Stanzione was the lead on this and Mr. Wilkinson recused himself) for coming up with a common sense approach to this issue. But, for those that did not attend and do not watch the meetings on TV, let me say that board members Overby, Van Scoyoc and Quigley made quite impassioned speeches about their commitment to our veterans and honored dead as well as commenting on the artists' special qualities and contributions. But, Mr. Van Scoyoc's comments were especially moving as he talked about his hero family members who gave their lives to keep us free and to enable us all to live the fantastic life we do in East Hampton. His comments also described a wonderful synergy at having both the vets and artists in the same area. The honored dead and vets and all our brave soldiers have fought and continue to fight to preserve our First Amendment rights. And the artists encapsulate the very being of those First Amendment rights. Again, thank you Board members. And, of course, thank you to our very special veterans.
Karin Gosman February 29, 2012 at 01:55 AM
I'm not sure that the purpose of The Green is for commerce.
Ken Walles February 29, 2012 at 12:25 PM
I would like to thank the town board for the time, effort and thought that had gone into trying to reach an amicable solution for both parties, however, their solution cannot be considered one of sharing. The artists association has given up nothing, no sacrifice here. They will get exactly what they want. The same space as last year. It was said they give up the monday... they don't use the green on monday. They pack up and out on sunday night since there is no money to be made on monday since all visitors depart on monday. So where is the sacrifice on their part ? Once again, the Veterans and their cause will get the leftovers. The ones that made the ultimate sacrifice get slapped. The Montauk Memorial Committee will decide today if the proposal presented by the Town Board is acceptable or other alternatives considered feasible. So I ask, what good is submitting a permit request in advance of anyone else each year if it gets shot down ?? However, there are two positive outcomes as a result of the Veteran and Artist discussion: 1- It has resurrected and highlighted the importance of Memorial Day and Memorial Weekend for the need of observance and reflection of our fallen heros'. 2- Hopefully the Town Board will move forward and take a more forensic look at all event uses of the Village Green and its purpose when permits are submitted. The Village Green should be a true representation of the Hamlet of Montauk. Right now its a mess.
Walter Noller February 29, 2012 at 02:41 PM
All considered, it seems someone went and got an "Easy" button at Staples. That was easy and as a veteran, myself, I want to say it's in good form to share the space, giving each the opportunity to appreciate the other's efforts. Perhaps the long term outcome will be artists that see the positive effect they can have by displaying patriotic-inspired artwork. It almost seems respectful of the sacrifices our military has made in the name of freedom to honor them with a showing of how a free society can get along. If, in the future, things need to be adjusted to accommodate for a larger show, events and crowds accept it is merely indicative of success for both parties as well as the village of Montauk.
Elaine Jones February 29, 2012 at 02:53 PM
The veterans parade will only get bigger and bigger each year and putting off the solution for the future is simply avoiding the issue. This celebration is once a year. The artists can have the other 360. The veterans should not sacrifice anything. And they live in our community. They don't take their money to other places.
Glyn Erwin February 29, 2012 at 03:45 PM
I'd like to clear up an apparent misconception. The Montauk Artists Association is a not-for-profit organization. The shows on the Green are fund raising events to cover the operating cost of the association. These funds are needed to cover the costs of advertising, utilities, insurance, rent, and repaires. The association nor any of it's mem,bers make a profit from these events. Since municipal grants have dwindled these funds have gained greater importance to keep the association from going under and being forced to disband. This would be a great loss to the Comunity which in the past have been staunch supporters. Sharing the Green should benifit both the artists and the Veterans.
Karin Gosman February 29, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Well said Mr. Walles. I applaud you and your organization for reminding/teaching us, why we celebrate Memorial Day. I still believe another location exists for the Artists Association's show.
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
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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