Greenport Mayor David Nyce said he and members of the Village Board were not discriminating against San Simeon by the Sound nursing home when they for an annual fundraiser earlier this week.
The move was an attempt to avoid discrimination in deciding who can use the and when they can use it, he said.
, which has served the North Fork’s elderly at a Route 48 facility for 40 years, to hold a fundraiser, as have other influential groups and businesses in town such as . But Nyce said that these private galas have always been one-off events, never occurring several years in a row.
“The reason we accepted the proposal last year is because it was clearly stated that this would be a one-time thing,” he said. “Yes, the hospital does a fundraiser in the park every year, but it’s part of the whole of the As a rule, the board does not approve annual events in the park that do not benefit the village directly, and I think we’ve been consistent in our approvals and denials.”
Nancy Morrow, chairperson of development for San Simeon By the Sound, argued in an email statement sent earlier this week that last summer’s two-hour reception brought over 200 people to the village on a Sunday afternoon — people that would probably have not have been there to patronize downtown if not for the reception.
And Andrea Parks, director of development for San Simeon, said that she did not understand why the board would approve, for the fifth year in a row, a two-day use of Mitchell Park and Marina next summer to the U.S. Power Squadron — a national non-profit boating organization — yet deny San Simeon during the same meeting.
“OK, the Power Squadron might bring a lot of business to Greenport over a two-day period — but the fact is, San Simeon brings business to Greenport 365-days-a-year,” Parks said. “We keep people in Greenport, we keep families together, we order out from the delis. The board clearly does not understand the value that San Simeon provides to the village at large.”
Southold Town officials have for years now approved the annual closure of Love Lane in Mattituck for — a fundraiser for a hospital auxiliary group called TWIGS — which will happen this year on Friday at 6:30 p.m. Supervisor Scott Russell said that to showcase the unique setting to benefit a hospital that is important to everyone on the East End is an obvious benefit.
“Honestly, we have not received any negative feedback from the businesses there on the road closure,” he said. “If they had concerns we would certainly listen.”
But Mitchell Park is an entirely different ball game than Love Lane, Nyce said.
“It’s a public park, and there is state money there,” the mayor said. “So anyone in the state has the same rights to it as any village resident. You’re not guaranteed access to a public road all of the time — and we do shut down certain roads every year for certain events.
“Mitchell Park is very young, it’s fabulous spot, and we get an inordinate number of requests from groups who want to use it,” he continued. “We take all of those requests very seriously, and there are two requirements — the event itself has to benefit the village directly or have little impact on public use. San Simeon can come back in a couple of years, but not every year.”
YOUR VOTES ON THE SAN SIMEON / MITCHELL PARK ISSUE:
- Do you think denying San Simeon use of Mitchell Park was the right move by the Village Board? (Results as of Dec. 2)
- Yes 27 (34%)
- No 50 (64%)
- It's complicated — I'll explain in the comment boxes below 1 (1%)