In an ongoing attempt to encourage more people to use the ocean beach at Kirk Park in Montauk, East Hampton Town officials have embarked on a restoration project there. The plan is to widen the beach’s main sandy path across the street from the parking lot, where parking was made free last year, reduced from a $10 fee for those without East Hampton Town resident parking permits.
The path will be widened and clearly defined with wooden slats over the sand. Rope railings, nautical in style, will help senior citizens and others unsteady on their feet.
The town board has been making the changes over the last two seasons to move some people off the other ocean beaches to the east — mainly the tightly packed Ditch Plain Beach — and get them to use the beach near Kirk Park on its south side, which is attended by lifeguards and has plenty of parking spaces. The lot has always been underused and has restrooms and a food truck.
The project was started by former Councilwoman Julia Prince and picked up this winter by Councilman Dominick Stanzione, who said this week that included in the plan is the addition of more than 30 new parking spaces around the downtown area.
He said that the restrooms in the parking lot have recently been painted pale blue, similar to what was there before. A recessed exterior wall that divides the men’s and ladies’ rooms might soon be painted with a mural. “Something like a clamshell,” Mr. Stanzione said. A bike rack has also been added to the site.
Other paths that also lead to the beach at Kirk Park, which had been fenced off and posted with signs saying “Tick Infested Area” to keep people off them, will soon be further blocked with split-rail fences.
Residents have been complaining for years that people are not using the proper path and are stomping all over the dunes near the I.G.A., where some beachgoers park for the day in the supermarket’s lot.
The project will continue next year when the town opens another access point to the Kirk Park lot on South Eagle Street, west of the lot, where police cars usually sit. A large free-parking sign was posted there just weeks ago, and the new access will be just south of the sign. On the north side of the area, at the Kirk Park pavilion, brush has been cleaned up and trees trimmed, Mr. Stanzione said.