Fundraisers planned for ‘Greenport Express’ as DEC reviews proposal

10/09/2018 6:01 AM |

The Greenport Rotary is chugging along in hopes of getting the “Greenport Express,” a miniature train and railroad it plans to run in Moore’s Woods, up and running soon.

In addition to two upcoming fundraisers, the proposal is now subject to a state Department of Environmental Conservation comment period that began Oct. 3 and will run though Oct. 18.

“We’re inching along,” said Rotarian Joe Cherepowich. “We have progress.”

The Greenport Rotary is buying one of the miniature trains that Frank Field used to run on his Greenport property before discontinuing the practice in 2012.

The Rotary, working with Greenport Village and the Railroad Museum of Long Island, plans to construct a 1,500-foot miniature railroad through a section of Moore’s Woods, complete with a railroad station.

DEC approval is needed because the project will need a wetlands permit to run the train near a freshwater wetland. It also will involve some removal of trees and brush, according to the notice.

But the DEC, in its hearing notice, said the project is what’s known as an “unlisted action” and will not have a significant impact on the environment, and it will not need a coordinated review with other agencies.

In addition, the DEC said it will not need to be reviewed under the State Historic Preservation Act.

It is located in a Coastal Management area and is subject to the Waterfront Revitalization and Coastal Resources Act, according to the DEC notice.

Mr. Field had offered rides to local kids for nearly three decades on his “Peconic County Miniature Railroad,” which he ran on his property beginning in 1982.

In 2016, Mr. Cherepowich ran into Mr. Field at a Rotary meeting and brought up the idea, which Mr. Field was amenable to. Greenport Mayor George Hubbard Jr. announced the proposal at a village board meeting and the idea took off.

“It’s really taking shape and it looks like its really going to happen within a year or so, or a year and a half,” Mr. Hubbard said at a recent village board meeting. “We’re getting close.”

He said the DEC review has taken a long time.

The first fundraiser is a concert by Cold Spring Harbor, a Billy Joel tribute band, on Oct. 27 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Greenport High School auditorium. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door, Mr. Cherepowich said.

The next fundraiser will be a “Monte Carlo” night Nov. 2 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Kontokosta Winery in Greenport. The event is being held by the AIA Peconic, the American Institute of Architects’ local chapter.

Tickets are $100, featuring wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres, or $150 with the inclusion of $500 worth of playing chips. There also will be sponsorship opportunities ranging from $1,000 to $6,000.

Mr. Cherepowich said there’s no time estimate for when the train will be up and running. Once they get DEC approval, they still need to get the train engine rehabilitation so as to change the electrical system from 6 volt to 12 volt.

After that, they need to put stakes in the ground and figure out the layoff of the tracks, and then, after that, become installing the tracks.

“A lot depends on timing and weather,” he said.

Written comments to the DEC can be addressed to: Elyssa E. Hopkins, NYSDEC Region 1 Headquarters, SUNY @ Stony Brook, 50 Circle Rd Stony Brook, NY 11790. They can also be made by phone at 631-444-0365 or by email at [email protected]

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