Tall Ships are returning to Greenport next year to the disappointment of some locals who feel public money used to fund the $225,000 event largely benefits the business community instead of everyday citizens.
During its regular session Tuesday night, each Greenport Village board member voted in favor of bringing the event back to Greenport for the second time on July 4 weekend in 2015.
Similar to the Tall Ships event in 2012, Mayor David Nyce is expecting to spend roughly $225,000 and generate about $250,000. Expenses include the cost of signing on to become a host city, which helps Tall Ships America maintain the historic vessels, Mr. Nyce said.
The price tag was too steep for resident Bill Swiskey, who said it was unfair to contribute those taxpayer dollars to pay for an event that primarily helps support local businesses.
“I benefit nothing from Tall Ships,” Mr. Swiskey said.
Mr. Nyce disagreed saying the popular event helps to keep Greenport thriving.
“It is good for the entire village,” Mr. Nyce said. “This village remains vibrant and viable when its business district remains vibrant and viable.”
The star of next year’s tour is restored boat Hermione La Fayette frigate, which will be traveling from France. The Revolutionary- era vessel is famed for bringing French general Marquis de Lafayette to the United States.
In the early stages of planning, the village is looking to team up with its neighbors across Long Island Sound in New London, Conn. to jointly promote the 2015 Tall Ships Challenge. Preliminary discussions have been about using the Cross Sound Ferry to entice visitors to check out both Tall Ships events, Mr. Nyce said. He also said the village’s Business Improvement District is in favor of the New London partnership, too.
To help the village prepare for the event the mayor is scheduled to attend the Tall Ships Challenge Series reception at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on May 6.
More than 60,000 visitors were drawn to Greenport during the last Tall Ships Challenge.