The Bicentennial: ‘Then and Now’

    Next month, the Amagansett School will mark the 200th anniversary of the district’s founding. In her comments at the school board’s meeting on Tuesday, Eleanor Tritt, the district superintendent, said that the occasion will be observed with the unveiling of “Then and Now,” a project on which sixth-grade students have been working for almost one year.
    Students have been collecting memorabilia, photos, stories, and other materials, and have conducted in-class interviews with school alumni. Their efforts will be featured in a multimedia presentation in the school’s gymnasium on May 8 at 1 p.m. Alumni have been invited to meet one another beforehand and share a light lunch at noon in the school’s library.
    To attend the “Then and Now” presentation, alumni and residents have been asked to R.S.V.P. by May 1 by sending an e-mail to thenandnow@ aufsd.org, calling the school at 267-3572, or downloading and printing a form at aufsd.org and mailing it to Then and Now, Amagansett School, P.O. Box 7062, Amagansett 11930-7062.
    Also at the meeting, Ms. Tritt thanked the PTA for sponsoring a hurricane preparedness workshop presented by Bruce Bates, coordinator of East Hampton Town’s emergency preparedness program. She also voiced gratitude for East Hampton High School’s Challenge Day workshops, wherein teenagers, teachers, and members of the community were shown that compassion and connection are possible in schools.
    On a related note, the superintendent referred the board to an article titled “Your Phone vs. Your Heart.” Published last month in The New York Times, the article details experiments on the effects of learning skills for cultivating warmer interpersonal connections.
    The experiments suggest a downside to the omnipresence of smartphones and the instant electronic access they provide: a diminished capacity to connect with others. The more attuned to others one is, the healthier that person is, the article posits. Likewise, a lack of positive social contact diminishes one’s health and ability to engage in such interaction. The article has particular resonance as administrators, teachers, parents, and students confront bullying and violence in schools.
    The board also heard a presentation on a proposed senior citizen housing development. Britton Bistrian, of Land Use Solutions, is a project consultant for Putnam Bridge, a Greenwich, Conn., firm that seeks to develop a complex on 24 acres east of Amagansett’s central business district (story on A1). Ms. Bistrian described the parameters of the proposed development, which would see construction of 89 residences, priced at market rates, for those 55 and older.
    The development, Ms. Bistrian said, would address the large and growing demographic of a post-World War II generation reaching retirement age, which she said will constitute 32 percent of Long Island’s population in 10 years. That figure is higher in Amagansett, she said.
    The development, which would require a zoning change, is being positioned as an extension of the Amagansett community, with the goal of active senior citizens “aging in place,” rather than entering an assisted living facility or leaving the region entirely, Ms. Bistrian said. The development is to be “net-zero,” producing as much electricity as it consumes through renewable, emission-free sources.
    There would be no impact on the school, Ms. Bistrian said. Taxes assessed on the property, at present $40,000 per year, would grow to $1.9 million to $2 million annually, she said. The construction of 10 affordable housing units, or payment by the developer to a housing bank toward the same goal, would also be part of the project, she said.