Sunday, May 25, 2008

Who Needs Key West, Fla......We Have Shirley Beach at Smith Landing!

If you've ever been to Key West, you may know about the nightly ritual of gathering in the square to watch their most fabulous sunset. There are food vendors and various performers for the crowds to enjoy while waiting for the golden orb to turn amber, then orange until it finally drops below the horizon. When the weather cooperates, it is a magnificent site to behold.

The same holds true for Shirley Beach at Smith Landing, the only west-facing, south shore beach in Suffolk County. On any given night, local residents arrive at the beach after dinner, sometimes bringing a cup of tea or coffee, and watch as the warmth of day leaves us for a star filled night sky. During the day the park is frequented by people all year long. From picnicing to windsurfing, young and old alike find enjoyment from this little tract of land left to us by Walter T. Shirley. On Saturday morning, while walking around the park, I spotted a mother duck with five little ducklings following her from the grass to the sand, then walking along the waters edge. I stood and watched as one by one they following their mom as she stepped into the water and swam out into the bay. Shirley Beach truly is a gem in our community.

Last weekend, Smith Point Peninsula Homeowners Association hosted a "Key West Night" at Shirley Beach at Smith Landing. There were families, barbeque, salads, desserts, music and the setting sun. The windy conditions didn't stop the children from gathering around the pinata or playing by the shoreline. Members conversed, and especially enjoyed hearing tales from residents who have lived in the community for more than 30 years. We looked at photos from a time before any homes were built along the shore, when a ferry carried you from the dock at Smith Landing across the bay to Smith Point Beach, when moms spent their entire summers sitting in the sand watching their children play in the water. A simpler time when our community really was a sleepy little town. This lovely little neighborhood beach shows us that we can still enjoy a little bit of that simplicity and it reminds us why we moved here in the first place.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Taking Care of Our Own Backyard

Thomas Edison once said "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work". Smith Point Peninsula Homeowners has not missed their opportunity to uncover a gem within our neighborhood - Shirley Beach at Smith Landing and happily engages in the work it takes to maintain its beauty.

For almost 8 months now, the members of the Smith Point Homeowners have been the stewards of our local beach. They have worked tirelessly on cleaning and maintaining the beach every day. During the "off season", which primarily runs from September through May they have opened the beach gates every morning and closed the beach each evening so everyone can enjoy our beach during the winter and spring months, when the beach is generally closed. This has enabled residents to enjoy the sunsets, go windsurfing or just watch the bay as it rolls onto the shore.

The Board and other members have also taken on the responsibility of cleaning the beach daily, and cleaning the entire shoreline from the manor to the marina on a weekly basis. Many residents have expressed their gratitude claiming that "Shirley Beach hasn't looked this clean in years."

But the SPPHOA didn't stop there. They lobbied Brookhaven Town to spring for some wonderful improvements to the park, including repainting the building inside and out, delivering and securing new picnic tables and new barbeque pits, weeding, edging, mulching and planting new flowers in the neglected beds. In addition, the Town cleaned up the playground area and spread new mulch near all of the equipment and added new trash cans with wildlife-resistant covers to help keep the litter where it belongs.

So next time you're in the neighborhood, stop by Shirley Beach at Smith Landing, take a stroll along the shore, or just sit down and enjoy the view. But please be sure to pick up after yourself and help keep your park clean. You and your neighbors will be glad you did.

We are ever so grateful to Brookhaven Town for listening to its residents and especially for entrusting the care of its precious jewel, Shirley Beach at Smith Landing, to the Smith Point Peninsula Homeowners Association. This is the best example of taking care of one's own backyard.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Open Season

As summer quickly approaches, we are reminded that our community hosts one of the best summertime attractions in Brookhaven Town - Smith Point County Park. The beach and campground at Smith Point are visited by thousands each year and with that comes the traffic and the litter. But more important is the economic boost those visitors can bring to our community. Thankfully we will soon have more to offer visitors than fast food. Applebees will be a welcomed alternative.

Recently, Smith Point Peninsula Homeowner's president Vinny Albino and Board Member Mike Trotta were invited to meet with Legislator Browning, Chamber of Commerce president Mark Smothergill and others to discuss the feasibility of bringing back the 4th of July Fireworks show to Smith Point Beach. If handled properly, this can be a positive event for our community. Cooperation from the Suffolk County Police Department in handling traffic and parking issues, and of course littering, can assure a successful event.

Summertime also means more visitors to our Smith Point Marina with boats and jetskis heading out into the bay and brings to question where we are in the planning of any further development of the Marina property. Our next poll will discuss how area residents feel about proposals for the Marina. Check back next month to voice your opinion.