Fishers Island Recreational Path Foundation August 2020 Update

Fishers Island Recreational Path Foundation
PO Box 619
Fishers Island, NY 06390

Dear fellow Fishers Islanders:

It gives me great pleasure to announce the launch of our campaign to raise funds for the Recreational Path extension along the Navy fence. After considerable effort from many Fishers Islanders and further collaboration from the ICB and our town representative Louisa Evans, we finally received permission from the Navy to transfer the required piece of property to Southold, which the township agreed to accept in early August.

This has been the culmination of much hard work to address a dangerous portion of roadway for cyclists, joggers and walkers traveling between the East and West ends of the island.  This particular stretch with its blind curves presents serious safety concerns that motivated us to pursue construction of the extension along the Navy fence.  The Path extension will start at Wilderness Point Road (where the current Path bypass exists) and follow along the Navy fence till the main entrance of the Navy installation (next to the fourth tee at Hay Harbor).  Then at the intersection of Montauk and Oriental Avenue stop signs for Path users as well as for vehicles will be installed. Whether we pursue further construction towards the town center, however, is not clear since the deep ridges on both sides of the road as well the closeness to potential errant balls from the fourth tee may be too problematic to build on either side of the road.  It is mostly a straightway from the tee to the center of town so visibility issues are not as threatening as they are at the extension area, and we may have to accept no Path additions there.

While Southold finally agreed to permit construction of the extension, they have refused to fund or to maintain it. Due to this, we need to appeal once again to the generosity of our community.  Four years ago we spent approximately $50,000 for surveying and several design proposals for the extension.  At the time we received an estimate of approximately $600,000 for construction, which will require extensive boulder removal, landscaping and moving of some fence and utility poles.  We are assuming the cost of construction will be about the same though it will not be finalized until the bidding process is completed hopefully before the end of the year. If this happens we may be able to begin construction by the beginning of the second quarter in 2021.

It has been ten years since our first campaign to raise funds for the original four-mile Path, which cost approximately $4 million. Over the ensuing years we have spent approximately $40,000 annually in general maintenance, regular removal of some invasive plants partially financed by the Conservancy, planting of wildflower beds, as well as insurance and administration expenses. Additionally in some years like 2020 we spent $75,000 for tree cutting and tarmac repair. So far we have adhered to a free bicycle sticker policy and have given out on average about 1,000 stickers per year. Our income is generated instead from donors, and the Recreational Path Foundation receives an average $40,000 per year in contributions.

So far in 2020 we have received approximately $50,000 in contributions plus an additional $50,000 in pledges. Our aim is to raise at least $600,000 during this campaign to fund the Path extension fully, though it would behoove us to raise another $250,000 plus in order to augment our endowment. At the moment we have $365,000 in the bank, and will not commit to construction until we have at least an additional $300,000 in our account.

In our original Path funding drive approximately 80 percent of donations came from 10 percent of the 200 donors. It is our desire to expand beyond the circle of the original large donors and seek support from the next generations. Please spread the word among your family and friends, and of course particularly regular users of the Path, that we need your help.

Below please find our pledge form HERE.

Thank you in advance for your support,

John McGillan

President of Fishers Island Recreational Path Foundation

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