The Montauk Playhouse Community Center has been only partially operational since 2006, but it looks like that’s about to change. The Town of East Hampton announced in June that it would match $3 million in individual donations raised by the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation (MPCCF). That signaled a major step forward towards the expansion of the Playhouse to include a Cultural Arts and Aquatic Center. Now, it seems imminent that the Playhouse will raise the final $2 million in donations needed for a full renovation by 2019, which is the same year the town will include its $3 million contribution in its capital budget. Revelers at last weekend’s Dan’s Taste of Summer events—MonTaco and ClambakeMTK—did their part as a portion of proceeds from these events benefitted the Playhouse.
Currently, the Town of East Hampton owns and operates the Playhouse, which is located on Edgemere Street next to the Montauk Fire House and across from the train station. The Playhouse is home to a gymnasium, fitness center, childcare center, senior nutrition and adult care center and Montauk Physical Therapy. The new plans call for the unfinished western half of the building to hold an Aquatic Center with two pools, one for fitness training and the other for recreation, as well as a Cultural Arts Center with a multi-use performance, conference and event space. “Once completed, the expanded facility will be a vibrant gathering place for all of Montauk’s residents and visitors,” says Susan Henkin, executive director of the Playhouse.
Henkin says that construction will likely begin in 2018, and that it should take 12–15 months for it to be completed.
Citing a 2013 survey of Montauk residents in which 90% responded favorably to expanding the Playhouse, Henkin says that the Playhouse will become a new hub for the community. Even as Montauk has become the hottest summer vacation spot on the East End, Henkin says that providing a year-round facility will benefit locals, seasonal residents and visitors.
“The Foundation has been in regular communication with Montauk’s year round and seasonal residents who continue to express a need for social and cultural gathering spaces for residents and visitors of all ages,” she says.
The proposed Cultural Arts Center will serve not only to encourage interest in the arts, but will also be available to businesses and residents as a conference space, Henkin says. “The multi-use Cultural Arts Center will be home to live theater and musical performances, educational classes, movies and events,” she says. “The flexible facility will enable us to partner with local businesses and provide space for conferences, and numerous social gatherings.”
The Playhouse hopes to accommodate both professional and community performances with its theater.
Meanwhile, the Aquatic Center will provide Montauk residents with a community pool much closer to home than the ones at the YMCA East Hampton RECenter.
“The Aquatic Center’s mission to provide water safety and swimming competence will help ensure the health and safety of all Montauk’s families,” Henkin says.
For now, the promise of a new community center has captured the interest of many in Montauk.
“The success of this project will be measured by its ability to deliver quality programming that is complementary to what’s already available on the East End,” Henkin says.
To learn more or find out how to donate to the MPCCF, visit montaukplayhouse.org.