They Want a Pool — Pronto!

       The results of a survey conducted by the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation says that the majority of the 800 Montauk households that answered want a pool — and soon!

       The survey was sent out to more than 1,600 households in early fall. It was put together by several board members, including Tom and Helene Griffin and Wendy and Jeff Samuelson, all of whom have worked in marketing and for other not-for-profit projects.

       “They brought the experience to the table,” said Maureen Rutkowski, the project’s director, who was at the playhouse on Sunday with her husband, David Rutkowski, setting up a batting cage for the public to enjoy during the holiday break.

       Ms. Rutkowski said the survey intended to reassess what the community wants now that the playhouse has been up and running since 2006. “We got great feedback, considering the winter population‚” she said.

       Online and as a booklet, the survey asks 12 questions, starting with how interested residents are in an aquatic center and including how many in each household would use it, how often, and at what age. It also asks general questions such as where do people stay when visiting the East End and in which hamlet or village.

       It is still possible to participate in the survey online at

       The aquatic center was separated out from the second phase of the playhouse project in 2012 to get it moving along. Groundbreaking for the center, which will be on the ground level, where now there is a massive space with a dirt floor, is to start in 2014, with completion set for 2016.

       The cost of the pool, its infrastructure work, two meeting rooms, and other contingencies is expected to be $4 million, half of which is already on hand thanks to a variety of fund-raisers the group holds throughout the year, including dinners in private homes with Lisa DeVeglio, the board’s president, as host.

       Coming up, a number of board members will trek to the Meadowlands in New Jersey to attend a workshop with USA Swimming, an organization that offers professional tips. “Basically, they teach us how to build a pool,” Ms. Rutkowski said.

       Outside suggestions come in handy, she said, and have helped the board decide to downgrade a 240-seat theater project that had been included in the original phase-two plan. Instead, the group went with building a multipurpose space where theater events as well as other activities could be held. “It leaves open the possibility of other things,” Ms. Rutkowski said.

       The playhouse is open daily and includes activities for senior citizens, children’s day care, exercise programs, an open gym (depending on scheduling), the Body Tech fitness center, and Manual Sports and Physical Therapy.

       To get back to the batting cage, Montauk Youth purchased it for the playhouse. Holiday hours can be checked online at or on its Facebook page.

       Some visitors actually gasped as they walked into the gym on Sunday, saying they couldn’t believe what it offered. “Can we use this?” several young boys asked in amazement while eyeing the batting cage.

       “I love coming in and seeing the life in here,” Ms. Rutkowski said as she guided a guest into the elevator.