Help preserve the incredible Brooks Park Home and Studios Town Historic Landmark in the Springs community of East Hampton, one of our 2021 Endangered Historic Places nominees. Click HERE to read a recent letter to the Town of East Hampton from the National Trust For Historic Preservation in support of preserving these remarkable town-owned structures.
If you live, work, or own property in East Hampton Town please contact your elected town officials and let them know you support the preservation of this important public asset. Key “asks” include:
- Reverse the demolition approval.
- Fully stabilize and secure the property and structures as soon as possible.
- Seek additional guidance from the New York State Historic Preservation Office’s Technical Preservation Services Bureau (click HERE for staff contact info).
- Revise the Town of East Hampton Community Prerservation Fund 2021 Management and Stewardship Plan (approved by Town Board Resolution #2021-325) to better reflect the official plan for this property as “Historic Preservation and Open Space” (approved by Town Board Resolution #2014-1023). Encourage greater investment from potential nonprofit partners or project donors by removing problematic language from the 2021Plan regarding demolition of these structures, as it appears inconsistent with section 112-1-50A(4) of the town code, which states: ”With regard to historic properties, historic and cultural resources shall be managed and maintained in a manner which is consistent with accepted standards for historic preservation.”
- Allocate funding from the town Community Preservation Fund (CPF) to hire an expert preservation planner and other qualified professional consultants to assess the conditions and ensure sustainable long-term stewardship of this and other CPF historic sites. Up to 10% of the CPF may be used to support such Management and Stewardship expenses according to section 112-1-35C of the town code. According to the town’s official 2021 CPF Plan only $477,848 is currently budgeted for Management and Stewardship expenses for all CPF properties this year; $477,848 represents approximately 2% of the $25 million total CPF tax revenues expected for 2021.
- Enhance the success of historic preservation by appointing community members with expertise in historic preservation, preservation planning, historic resources management, and/or public history to community advisory boards/committees, including the CPF Advisory Board and the Property Management Committee. Enhanced approaches and planning for historic preservation would complement and expand the success of the CPF’s excellent work to protect natural and agricultural resources, as these environmental resource are also essential aspects of the East End’s diverse history and cultural heritage.
- Initiate new collaborative public planning process between the town and community stakeholders, such as a public charrette. New plans should consider rehabilitation in support of mixed public uses that complement the programs of existing arts museums in the area, including historic interpretation, studio space for artist community, outdoor activities/events, hiking trails, and open space. Historic preservation does not preclude or prevent other complimentary uses, such as the Neck Path Trail, which links this property to others in Springs.
- Leverage pledges of CPF tax revenue to raise dollar-for-dollar matching contributions from private donors and foundations to support rehabilitation as well as public programming in partnership with a new licensee/non-profit steward.
Peter Van Scoyoc, East Hampton Town Supervisor
Sylvia Overby, East Hampton Town Trustee
631-324-2620, [email protected]
Jeffrey L. Bragman, East Hampton Town Trustee
631-324-2620, [email protected]
Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, East Hampton Town Trustee/Deputy Supervisor
631-324-3187, [email protected]
David Lys, East Hampton Town Trustee
631-324-3187, [email protected]
Preservation Long Island enthusiastically supports the renewed grassroots effort of local residents and stakeholders (led by Marietta Gavaris, a Springs resident, artist, and fashion executive) advocating for preservation of the Brooks Park Home and Studios, a designated town landmark eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, which was purchased by the town in 2013 with $1.1 million from the Community Preservation Fund (CPF). In light of strong community interest, we see an opportunity for the town to meaningfully engage residents and stakeholders in collaborative preservation planning for this significant public asset.
We are pleased to join our colleagues at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Trust’s Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program in offering guidance to develop and execute a comprehensive preservation plan in partnership with local community members.
As the planning process proceeds, it is crucial to protect Brooks Park Home and Studios from further deterioration and threats of trespassing or vandalism. Current conditions suggest the property was not sufficiently mothballed upon vacancy. We therefore recommends securing and stabilizing the structures as soon as possible following the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
Preservation Long Island also sees an excellent opportunity to leverage pledges of CPF tax revenue to raise dollar-for-dollar matching contributions from private donors and foundations for rehabilitation and public programming in partnership with the new licensee/non-profit stewardship organization. For example, the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation offers matching grants of up to $500,000 to qualifying non-profit stewards of publicly owned historic properties in support of qualifying rehabilitation projects. Such public-private partnerships could significantly enhance the CPF program and local economy. If additional private matching funds could be raised to purchase building materials and support programming at historic properties, there would be more public funds available to pay prevailing-wage workers for on-site rehabilitation and maintenance at CPF sites.
We continue to believe that previously proposed demolition and/or relocation of any of this site’s buildings would irreversibly diminish the town’s historical ties to American abstract expressionist artists, James Brooks (1906-1992) and Charlotte Park (1918-2010), who are among the world-renowned artists, writers, and musicians that lived and worked in East Hampton during the 20th century.
Thank you for your support! We look forward to a bright future for Brooks Park Home and Studios as a viable and valuable enhancement to East Hampton’s exceptional educational, leisure, and cultural activities!
Image courtesy of the Brooks Park Heritage Project.