This week in Shelter Island history

PETER BOODY PHOTO | Suffolk County Water Authority officials CEO Steve Jones (seated) and then chairman Michael LoGrande making their case to a 2003 Town Board for a study of the feasibility of bringing public water to Shelter Island.

Water Authority offers grant to Island

In an effort to lure Shelter Island to convert from well water to public water, the Suffolk County Water Authority 10 years ago offered a $25,000 grant to the town for a feasibility study. Then SCWA chairman Michael LoGrande said there would be no ties attached to the grant, but it was simply an effort to give Islanders information comparing public water to what they have.

“We’re not pushing ourselves on anybody,” Mr. LoGrande said. SCWA would offer service only if the community determined that’s what it wanted, he said. At the same time, he acknowledged that clean off-island water could stimulate unwanted development on the Island and that would be a factor that would have to be controlled by town ordinances.
POSTSCRIPT: Islanders continue to remain independent of the Suffolk County Water Authority.

We are the champions!

The Pierson-Shelter Island girls varsity basketball team plucked the Eastport Lady Ducks 20 years ago to win the Suffolk County Class D basketball title for a fourth successive year. The score was 50-31. The Lady Ducks had beaten the Pierson-Shelter Island team with a fourth quarter rally earlier in the season and there were concerns that the local girls could see a similar scenario in the championship game. But team members were focused and there would be no repeat of a fourth quarter comeback for the Eastport girls.

POSTSCRIPT: Sadly, there would be no repeat this year for the Lady Indians who lost to the Port Jefferson Royals by a score of 63-38 in their final game of the season.

State slates bridge work

Back in 1983, New York State Department of Transportation officials announced that the Chase Creek Bridge, located at the base of Bridge Street on Route 114 would be cleaned, primed and painted .A plan to replace the bridge was already in the works and expected to occur in 1990. But in the interim, the cleaning and painting was necessary to keep the structure from deteriorating, according to state officials.

The original bridge was built in 1908 and deteriorated badly and by the 1970s, plans were afoot to replace it. Various temporary solutions were discussed and dismissed until the state suggested a structure that had been used over Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx. There were many weather delays in getting that structure in place, but by May 1972, that bridge opened.

But by the early 1980s, a permanent bridge was needed and the painting was a temporary solution to keeping the structure from further deterioration until a new bridge could be opened.

POSTSCRIPT: The permanent bridge was constructed and opened in the early 1990s.

Board adopts dog ordinance

In  1963, the Town Board adopted an ordinance to make it possible to identify the owner of Shelter Island dogs, but took no steps to limit free-roaming dogs. The local resolution basically backed up an existing state law that provides penalties for owner who fail to affix license tags to their animals. Dog owners voiced opposition  to the local resolution, maintaining that collars necessary to affix the tags had been known to strangle animals if they became entangled in fencing. The local law included a $10 penalty for owners who allowed their dogs to go unlicensed and set a similar fine for owners of dogs found at large on town beaches during summer months.

POSTSCRIPT: A year ago, a group of residents sought town land for a dog park, winning agreement from the Town Board that a site could be identified, but no action has taken place since supporters of a dog park stepped back to determine how they would be able to take on the responsibility of overseeing the operation of a dog park. There has been no follow up action since.