Pitch New Parking Lot

    An idea to turn a 40-acre field off Old Stone Highway into parking for 100 cars met with concern at Monday night’s Springs School Board meeting.
    Michael Hartner, the district’s superintendent, referred a “very amicable” meeting he had with East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, Police Chief Eddie Ecker, and Scott Lynch, the town superintendent of highways.
    At that meeting, Mr. Hartner said, the East Hampton Town representatives “shared the opinion that the school needs to add parking.” The current situation, with cars lining the roadside near Pussy’s Pond, is not favored by the town.
    “Pussy’s Pond is a park area, not a parking area,” Mr. Hartner said.
    Another major concern expressed to Mr. Hartner was the “car line” — parents lined up to pick up their children — which often extends beyond Ed Hults Lane and well into the oncoming traffic on Old Stone Highway.
    To accommodate a parking lot, a new road would need to be added to access Old Stone Highway, and the current configuration would be changed, so that Ed Hults Lane could serve as the car line only.
    Mr. Hartner suggested the school should “get a couple of contractors to give us an idea of what it might cost.”
    “It could be a proposition in May,” said Kathee Burke Gonzalez, the school board president.
    Not everyone agreed. Michelle Grant, a Springs parent who is also a teacher in another district, said, “If a proposition is going up, it should be for classrooms, not for parking spaces. I’m a little nauseous about this,” she said.
    “We’re talking about safety,” said Kim Notel, the school’s D.A.R.E. police officer.
    “I don’t think 100 kids in a gym is safe either,” countered Ms. Grant.
    Others expressed concern over the cost, especially given the fact that the district is looking for programs to cut in order for the district not to exceed the newly mandated to 2-percent cap on tax levy increases.
    “I think Springs residents would rather see cars parked on the street a little while longer while we come up with a sustainable plan,” said Carol Saxe Buda, a Springs resident.
    “Parking and traffic safety is something that the district has struggled with for years,” Mr. Hartner said on Tuesday. “We can’t just shrug it off and tell the town, ‘Sorry, we have bigger fish to fry.’ When they raise issues like this, we have to take it seriously.”
    A school board budget workshop is scheduled for Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m.