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Hometown Gig Raises Funds For Save Sag Harbor Campaign

Originally Posted: October 08, 2007

Christine Bellini

Sag Harbor loyalists were out in full force Sunday afternoon at a benefit art auction and concert to help defray legal costs expected in the fight against "big box" development. Photos by Christine Bellini

Sag Harbor - "Size Matters," the tongue in cheek slogan of the Save Sag Harbor (SSH) campaign, was well illustrated by the robust turnout at The Whaler's Church Sunday as some 550 supporters walked their way across the front lawn of the historic village grounds to place their dibs on fund raising art offerings prior to a benefit concert featuring Alexa Ray Joel's premier 'homecoming gig.'

The ebullient crowd kept their eye on the prize of raising funds to contract legal counsel to steer their grass root watchdog effort to assist village officials in devising a comprehensive master plan designed to ward off over development in the village. Treated to an array of finger foods donated by village restaurants and coffee shops, 100 percent of the proceeds from the event will benefit the cause according to event chairperson April Gornick, a renown artist and resident of North Haven.

Singing with heart, Alexa Ray Joel took center stage at the
fund raising benefit Sunday.

Fabulous Turnout
SSH President Mia Grosjean reported the event went "fabulously," gratefully so, as a limit on tickets was set to accommodate occupancy limits at the church. Addressing the house-friendly audience of village neighbors, Barbara Roberts, a spokesperson for the group, reminded the spirited assemblage of their first and main goal, "which is to support the efforts of the trustees and mayor which is already underway to establish an excellent comprehensive plan," creating a tool to safeguard the appearance and size of "the heart and soul of our village."

Receiving a resounding round of applause, Roberts said, the "two big fears" expressed by residents concerning the establishment of such a comprehensive plan, namely higher taxes and lower property values, were "unfounded." Citing similar communities of Nantucket and Aspen where planning has been tightly restricted, an opposite affect has transpired and "property values have soared."

"There are ways to help small business thrive in Sag Harbor," Roberts continued. "We need to tap into our planners and architects and lawyers and PR specialists in this audience to join our professional committee and develop a plan and vision for the future. What better a gift for her 300th birthday than to preserve the best of her past and her present for the future?"

Concurring with that sentiment, SSH President Grosjean piped, "I want Sag Harbor to be the best little 'ole whaling village in the world." Prompting the participants to continue to "think out of the box" when considering Sag Harbor's "extraordinary future," Grosjean suggested "this could very well become a nationwide 'Back To Main Street' movement. We've got an incredible resource -- hard working, creative people at the height of their careers. It's a vibrant, eccentric, creative, alive community."

"Hometown Gig"
Following an endearing introduction by her younger brother, benefit headliner Alexa Ray Joel winked at her mother, Christie Brinkley, a major contributor to the event, sitting among the raft of photographers kneeling in the front row. "I'm so excited! This is my first hometown gig! And how great is that," she told the audience, "to be here to help Save Sag Harbor!"

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