Village, Ritchie to continue discussing Fire Fighter Museum’s future Monday

03/21/2014 6:00 AM |
Fire Fighter docked in Greenport Village. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Fire Fighter docked in Greenport Village. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Fire Fighter Museum president Charlie Ritchie is expected to attend Greenport Village Board’s meeting on Monday to discuss the vessel’s future.

Trustee George Hubbard has said he wants the Fire Fighter Museum to continue to lease mooring space at the commercial railroad dock — despite objections from the county.

“I personally want to see the boat remain in Greenport,” he said during last Monday’s work session.

Mr. Hubbard said he believes the village should enter into a rent agreement with the non-profit group on a month-to-month basis.

The deal could generate about $2,400 annually in revenue for the village while providing Mr. Ritchie more time to find a permanent berth for the 134-foot vessel, he said.

In January, Greenport Village Board members voted unanimously to approve a resolution terminating licensing for the berthing of Fire Fighter at any village-controlled dock effective Feb. 28, the final day of the vessel’s docking permit. The Village of Greenport leases the railroad dock from the county for a token fee of $1 per year, but the county retains the right to refuse any sublease agreement the village enters into.

The county has not taken action against the village, but ordered Mr. Ritchie earlier this month to remove the historic vessel from the county owned railroad dock by March 31 at the expense of either the organization or its individual members.

The county attorneys are now requesting that Fire Boat museum develop a plan for the boat’s departure, Mr. Ritchie said Wednesday.

“While they don’t seem to be pushing the March 31 deadline, they want to know when we will leave and are still threatening legal action which we could not withstand,” he said. “ I am still pursuing other possibilities but they are moving slow.”

Mr. Ritchie said the museum’s other board members couldn’t personally cover penalties or fines, or any of the exorbitant costs associated with relocating the boat.

At Monday’s meeting, Mr. Ritchie said he’s encouraged by Mr. Hubbard’s comments.

“There is still hope among us that we can stay in Greenport,” Mr. Ritchie said.