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.”
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