Greenport Maritime Monument repairs held up by dredging plan

10/12/2011 1:00 PM |

TROY GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The base of the Greenport Maritime Monument at Sandy Beach Point is in need of repair, but an effort to fix the monument has been delayed for several years since it is tied to the planned dredging of Stirling Creek.

The base of the Greenport Maritime Monument at Sandy Beach Point is in need of repair, but an effort to fix the monument has been delayed for several years since it is tied to the planned dredging of Stirling Creek.

What Greenport sculptor Arden Scott, who crafted the monument back in the mid 1980s, wonders is why the project has to be linked to the dredging in the first place. Ms. Scott said she doesn’t believe the spoils from dredging could be used to fix the monument’s base.

“I want to separate that out,” she said. “There’s no earthly reason it should be tied to the dredging.”

Dredging requests can often be delayed as municipalities seek approval from the DEC.

It will take money to get the job done, but Ms. Scott thinks that since the monument, listed with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which is dedicated to saving historic places throughout the country, could be eligible for grant funding. Funding might come through Save Outdoor Sculpture, a group determined to preserve such resources, could be a potential source of money, Ms. Scott suggested.

The concrete base of the monument needs to be rebuilt and then protected by ripwrap, similar to that used around the base of Long Beach Bar “Bug” Lighthouse to protect it from deterioration.

“The concrete’s being undermined and we need some remediation,” Ms. Scott said. She speculated that bulkheads constructed in the area since the monument was placed may have affected the way in which sea water now hits the deteriorating concrete base.

The monument isn’t in danger of falling into the water, said Keith McCamy, Ms. Scott’s husband. That’s because the monument rests on pilings that are about 80-feet deep, he said. But the base has been badly eroded since the monument was dedicated in 1986 and the need for repairs has been evident for more than a year, Mr. McCamy said.

Construction of the monument was “a true community effort,” Ms. Scott said. The idea grew out of recognition that Greenport needed a way to honor those who had lost their lives at sea, whether through military service or as mariners who fished the waters out of Greenport.

Gloucester, MA., where Ms. Scott has sailed her own two-masted schooner in competitions, has a monument to its sailors and it seemed like a natural fit for Greenport and its long maritime history.

She crafted the monument out of two pieces of Bethel granite from Vermont, working at Steve Clark’s Greenport Yacht and Shipbuilding yard on Carpenter Street. Stonemason Halsey Staples cut the inscription. John Costello and Terry Latham drove the pilings for the foundation and Joseph Crenshaw did the concrete work. Merlon Wiggin was the consulting engineer on the project.

Committee members, who raised funds for the project, were former mayor Dave Kapell, Ed Kruszeski, Bernie Heaney, Gail Horton, Poppy Johnson, Jeanne Thayer, Robert and Lillian White, and Mr. Staples. A lot of the work that went into the monument’s creation didn’t have to be paid for because of the in-kind contributions made by so many of the local craftsmen, Ms. Scott said.

She remembers Greenport merchants placing posters in their store windows asking for donations to support the project and said the support of then mayor George Hubbard Sr. was critical in making the monument a reality. She also credited Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) with securing grant money for the project.

That the monument is still significant is demonstrated whenever members of the Navy are in Greenport, Ms. Scott said. They can often be seen at the site bowing their heads in tribute to the fallen.

While it might take another community effort to get the necessary work done at the site, Ms. Scott said volunteers can’t undertake the project without village approval, since the monument now belongs to Greenport.

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