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Greenport Residents Question Sale of Beer in Mitchell Park

Some feel it was not fair to taxpayers for Greenport Harbor Brewery to set up a beer garden in the park during Maritime Festival weekend.

After Maritime Festival weekend, members of the Greenport Village Board and a few residents discussed what worked and what did not over the weekend during a board meeting Monday night, and one resident said he disapproved of the sale of beer in Mitchell Park — a park that belongs to the public.

“You won’t allow a group like San Simeon in,” said Bill Swiskey of Greenport, referring to a board resolution earlier this year to deny the use of the park for a local nursing home’s fundraising gala for the second consecutive year. “But you’ll allow a merchant to sell beer in the park — this is just beyond me.”

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company set up a beer garden near Aldo’s coffee shop in the park, as they did during the Tall Ships festival over Memorial Day weekend. Other vendors in the park included Eastern Long Island Hospital and non-profit groups like the East End Seaport Museum and the American Heart Association. Other businesses sold alcohol but did so on the street.

Greenport Mayor David Nyce explained during the meeting that Greenport Harbor Brewing Company was one of the corporate sponsors of the Maritime Festival — which is a fundraiser for the East End Seaport Museum and is organized by the board of the museum — and the board decided to allow them to use the park for this reason.

“The museum modeled the festival off of the Memorial Day event, which is a good model,” Nyce said. “They are our local brewery and had their own section fenced off with their own security, and everything went very smoothly.”

Nyce congratulated the museum board for this year’s Maritime Festival, saying that though there were a few wrinkles, it was a much more focused event than those of year’s past.

“I think it was an all-inclusive event for the entire business district, not having so many outside vendors,” he said. “Even for non-business-owning residents, having a thriving downtown is absolutely necessary for the village to continue.”

Resident John Saladino said that though he didn’t necessarily agree with Swiskey about selling beer in the park, he said he did have a problem with renting the park to a business when the village will not see a direct return.

“I understand this festival is to profit the museum, but I think moving forward the village should partner with the museum when they give up their whole village for the museum,” he said. “The taxpayers, who don’t own a bar or a restaurant, should get a little something back. I just think that would be fair.”

What do you think? Tell us in the comment boxes below.

local resident September 25, 2012 at 11:00 AM
The "donation" that the brewery made to sponsor the East End Seaport's Land and Sea Reception on Friday evening was the payment for their two day spot in the park---sweet deal? Did they pay the village anything for this prime peice real estate? With the loss of major income from vendors fees (less vendors equals less money for the museum) maybe it is time for the museum to give this fest over to the village for management as Greenport provides many of the major services for the day. The museum can participate in the fair as participating hosts and maybe taxpayers will get some return on their contribution of public funds. The village can make the fest more "maritime" because they won't need to rely on vendors fees.
Stan Uproar lll September 25, 2012 at 11:28 AM
As a church going man i was appaled by the amount of the deviles liquid that was flowing during the Maritime Festival weekend. The brewery in question was selling there poison all over our quaint town weather it was a local restaurant or drinking establishment also know as the devils den..Lets all stand together and ban the devils drink from Maritime Festival.Its disgusting to see the young and old walking around with the devils drink.As i looked around and see many young women partaking in this disgusting past time i prayed for each and everyone.
Erin Schultz (Editor) September 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Dianne Prendergast said on Facebook: "It was a beer fest. Not a maritime fest. So disappointed. I will not go back."
Ted Webb September 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I guess Diane did not get to see the Barque Eagle, or the hometown parade, or the Grand Marshal Jack Fisher,or the Picket Patrol museum exhibit, or the opening of the historic jailhouse, or the Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers, or the Power Squadron volunteers, or the dory races, or the pirates in the park, or the wonderful sonds of the Dunegrass Band, or the carousel, or the smiles on the kids faces, or the historic yacht Zaida, or the wooden boat displays, or the ice boat displays, or the friendliness of the many visitors and volunteers who made it happen. Maybe she was in the wrong village!
Gary M Charters September 25, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I do have to say that San Simeon is a much more vital part to the community than the Maritime Museum is and should have been given use of the park for their fund raiser so they can continue to operate and employee many local people including village residents.
Ross R. Caliguri September 25, 2012 at 12:58 PM
I wasn't there, but my girl friend was she said everyone smelled like beer. She also said that the streets were closed off and that everyone was having a good time. So lets ask the local police if crime went up during the fest and or directly after the fest.
forward thinking September 25, 2012 at 01:06 PM
THIS EVENT CLEARLY SHOWS WE ARE MORE INTERESTED IN BOOZE THAN THE AIDING OF THE ELDERLY -- EXHAULT PROFIT BUT NOT LET PEOPLE OF THE GOOD NON-PROFIT WORKS THAT GO ON HERE IN GREENPORT... BRING KAPPEL BACK
John September 25, 2012 at 01:33 PM
The Mayor is correct that the business district should thrive, and is important to the health of the Village, but that need does not negate the rights of the one thousand plus taxpayer/residents of profiting from these events too. The Mayor said that the tall ship event was the model for this event, what he omitted was, that event (if we are to believe him) did produce a profit for the village taxpayer and business community alike. This subject (giving away village assets for free) has long been an issue for me, I believe the Village has a beautiful venue in Mitchell Park that people would gladly pay a fee to use. The fact that it is a "public park" or "built with the peoples money" should not hinder or prevent the village from recouping some money to either maintain it, or better yet pay down some of the debt attached to it.
William Swiskey sr September 25, 2012 at 01:35 PM
The Brewery had two other locations it was selling beer, it didn't need to be in a public park. The food vendors were moved out because they weren't nautical, what's the connection between beer an boats BWI? The mayors logic is illogical San Simeon employs over a hundred LOCAL residents how many does the musuem. employ? No firework either are there other things at work here?
doug hardy September 25, 2012 at 01:53 PM
The beer garden was a wonderful addition to the maritime themed festival. Think of all the sea chanteys which tout of the seaman's reverence of drink. Certainly more maritime themed than out of town street venders selling trinkets from china. In addition it offered an enterprising local business to display their products in a relaxing, social and fun atmosphere. I enjoyed my beers throughly as did many others.
local resident September 25, 2012 at 02:42 PM
From what a board member told me,only one part time employee and a couple of seasonal folks, that's all!
John September 25, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I would ask you then why part of or a matching amount of the "sponsorship" money have gone to Greenport Village in addition to the MM? Lets be honest here his "donation" was not a donation but an investment for an almost guaranteed profit, a true donation or sponsorship would normally consist of a sign somewhere. Instead his donation got him exclusive vendor use of the park. I do not believe anyone would dispute he more than recouped in beer sales the amount he donated to the museum.
ed finnegan September 25, 2012 at 05:36 PM
If the park is made available to one village non profit ... it should be made availabe to every village non profit ...if it is made available the split ,if there is one and the extent of the Village's exposure (e.g. closing streets, security, liability, advertisng, clean-up costs etc.) and how it is computed should be made public. i think such events provide a clear benefit to the Village but at a cost which should be amortized before the sponsoring non-profit sees a dime.
Bob Corwin September 25, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Too bad this guy wasn't seen on Saturday or Sunday drinking in public... Then all would be ok! (I'm not saying the weed was ok, I'm only talking about the open container) http://northfork.patch.com/articles/police-greenport-man-busted-for-open-intox-marijuana-possession
forward thinking September 25, 2012 at 11:29 PM
THERE SHOULD BE ONE WEEK END "NON-PROFIT" SUPPORT GALA IN WHICH ALL THE IN TOWN / LOCAL NON-PROFITS CAN HAVE A BASH FOR THEIR BENEFIT -- HOSPITAL, SAN SIM, CHURCHES ETC.... A GOOD OLD HOME STYLE VENUE...
Dorothy K Rossi September 26, 2012 at 03:32 AM
I have lived here all of my life and everytime one of the Northfork towns has something going on there are all of these people who complain because the traffic was an inconvenience or the music was to loud; or people were drinking; kids were laughing to loud; their store was blocked by vendors so no one came in to shop; the guy selling beer made money and I didn't; its rediculous you all sound like a bunch of school kids, I was at the festival for two days it was beautiful, kids had a ball, I didn't see anyone stumbling around, the beer garden was a great idea and the food was wonderful! I go to a lot of festivals because they are fun to take part in, I love to check out the vendors to see what unique things they have and I don't think I have ever gone into a store in the town that was hosting the festival, if I wanted to shop in the stores I could do that when the town wasn't so crowded, people don't go to festivals to shop in the stores, they like a beer garden in the park, some local talent singing on the corner, the beauty of a warm sunny day, its not always about the money. Have some fun, life is short!
unknownauthor September 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM
"A" for effort ! The Maritime festival take's a village to make it happen . If you didn't enjoy it , than next year help to make it better . Volunteer , join the team . Anyway !, Also I Think a lot of folk's brought a beer in the garden ,just to has a chance to sit down for a few moment's to rest . Also saw a lot of local's just enjoying one beer.The village might want to add a couple dozen chair around the bank area, and the board walk. Great spot for the boy scout's !, your new spot was perfect in the park. Oh ,and I love Ian Crowley's chowder 2 . No body put's corn in " the org. " GREENPORT " chowder . But I did like some of the up dated recipe's off " The Rock's " .See ya next year all
Localtucker September 26, 2012 at 03:31 PM
amen dorothy, bunch of whiners!
Deidre Bay September 26, 2012 at 05:09 PM
There was an unlawful sale of beer to minors - period!. Stronger restrictions must be enforced next year. The family atmosphere of the festival will be dramatically altered if this problem continues to exist.
barbara radich September 27, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Didn't the brewery do a extra nice job making the spot look amazing !, with the plant's , and many extra touch 's , not just a snow fence . jcvbfakoo0ri?

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