A Boardwalk for Reeves Bay

Reeves Bay sits in the Peconics just outside and south of the mouth of the Peconic River. Hugged on most sides by preserved wetlands and dense phragmites in Flanders, it’s a little-explored wild space in an ecologically sensitive area.

Southampton Town is currently planning to make the nature here a little more accessible, with plans to build a nature trail and observation platform on a small peninsula that juts out into the bay off of Flanders Road.

The peninsula is part of the homestead of one of Flanders’ early settlers, Josiah Goodale, who lived there in the 1790s. Oscar Goodale, whose descendants own Riverhead Building Supply, later built an existing house and barn on the site, circa 1900. The peninsula had been known as Goodale Island for its longtime inhabitants.

Southampton Town purchased the five-acre property from the estate of Alfred Berti through the Community Preservation Fund for $500,000 in 2017.

The town had initially planned to demolish the buildings on the site, but, after the Flanders Village Historical Society organized a campaign to save the house, is considering leaving the house standing but demolishing the barn in order to build a small parking lot to access the nature trail.

The property is just east of Great Bay Marine and the closed Seven Z’s club, long a blight on the landscape alongside Flanders Road.

The Southampton Town Board voted Feb. 12 to hire L.K. McLean Associates for $58,000 to prepare engineering drawings and permits for the project, which is expected to cost $500,000, to be paid for through the town’s Community Preservation Fund.

The project would include a handicapped-accessible compacted crushed stone nature trail through the wooded peninsula, leading to a tempered steel catwalk observation platform on the bay, said Matt Jedlicka of L.K. McLean Associates, who presented the firm’s proposal to the Southampton Town Board at its Jan. 17 work session.

“From that peninsula, you can look out to the North Fork. It’s quite a view,” said Mr. Jedlika. 

He added that an observation platform at the end of the catwalk would be large enough to accommodate groups of people.

He said the project would cost $490,000 if the town uses a tropical hardwood for decking, but would cost $10,000 to $15,000 less if it was made of composite decking.

“I love the project,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “It creates an opportunity for people with physical difficulties to get out in nature, artists could be going out to work en plein air, school trips could go there for ecological studies. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

Beth Young

Beth Young built her first boat out of driftwood tied together with phragmites behind her family’s apartment above the old Mill Creek Inn in Southold. Nowadays, she spends most of her time kayaking, learning about shellfish, writing newspaper stories, trying to sail a Sunfish, and watching the way the bay changes from day to day. You can send her a message at beth@peconicbathtub.com

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