A look back: This week in Shelter Island history

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Mitchell Post 281 of the American Legion continues to provide a home for legionnaires as well as a town youth center and venue for many community activities. But it no longer falls to legionnaires to struggle to pay the bills.

Legion asks residents to help pay load of bills

For the first time in its 81-year history, Mitchell Post 281 of the American Legion turned to Islanders 10 years ago to ask for help in paying expenses to keep their building functioning. Postal box holders received letters from then Legion commander Eugene “Tink” Clark asking for contributions to help close a funding gap that came in at $40,000. Mr. Clark said the increased cost of insurance was the main culprit in keeping the legionnaires from being able to meet their bills. Refurbishing the 40-year-old bowling lanes in the basement and necessary repairs to the parking lot also put bills over the top, he said. Membership chairwoman Dorothy Clark said there was also a need for repairs to windows and “the whole place needs painting.”
POSTSCRIPT: The Legion Hall was acquired by the town in 2008 for the token payment of $1 with legionnaires retaining a life tenancy to use the property. In addition to legion activities, the building houses a center for youth activities and provides a home for many other events.

Town Board okays acquisition of Section 9 parcel

A 23-year struggle ended in August 1993 when the Town Board agreed  to acquire land for open space preservation that otherwise might have been developed for housing as part of the Hay Beach area. It was the first step in a 35-acre acquisition of Section 9 with the town buying 2.7 acres of land connecting Ram Island Drive via a narrow right of way to 200 feet of Gardiners Bay shore front for $50,000. The remainder of the 35 acres was set to be acquired by Suffolk County for $1.25 million. The town was also set to sign an agreement with the county and The Nature Conservancy agreeing to ongoing maintenance of the property. Hay Beach developers had originally wanted to open Section 9 for a subdivision.
POSTSCRIPT: The acquisition guaranteed that the land would remain in its natural state and not be developed. But residents whose deeds carried access to the 2.7 acres the town purchased, would still have access to that land for recreational purposes.

Dominy quits school board

Charles Dominy, who had been a member of the Shelter Island Board of Education since 1982, resigned in August 1983, stating that he no longer had the time necessary “to do a good job.”  Mr. Dominy had been appointed to the school board in January 1982 when Thomas Bixler resigned. Mr. Dominy, who served as board vice president and came to Shelter Island in 1969, was a former Brookhaven Town police officer, sheriff of Suffolk County, Bellport fire commissioner and vice president of the New York State Sheriffs Association. He also served as a trustee and then supervisor in Brookhaven.
POSTSCRIPT: This year, board vice president Thomas Graffagnino opted not to seek re-election, but won another term on a write-in vote.

Board calls for vote on proposed parking area

Responding to a petition signed by 102 residents, the Town Board set a referendum for late in August on a proposal to create a parking area immediately behind Piccozzi Bros. Garage to provide parking in the Bridge Street area. The vote at the end of August was 148 to 111 turning down the plan for the second time in nine months. A previous vote in December 1962, had been 94 to 77 to reject the parking lot.
POSTSCRIPT: Parking continues to be an issue during the summer season with one small parking area overlooking Dering Harbor and other vehicles forced to compete for on-street spaces. Last summer, when a public port-a-potty was placed on the lot, there was criticism of it taking up a parking space, but providing relief for visitors has won the day, at least for the moment and the port-a-potty remains in place during the summer season.