County to give up LIRR dock lease to Greenport

07/26/2014 2:00 PM |
Fireboat Fire Fighter is mooring at the railroad dock. (Katherine Schroeder file photo)

The former FDNY fireboat Fire Fighter, now a floating museum, will likely remain at the Long Island Rail Road dock in Greenport if a measure to cede control to the village is approved Tuesday by the Suffolk County Legislature. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

In what’s being called a win-win for both parties, Suffolk County is poised to give up oversight of the Railroad Dock on Third Street and let Greenport Village deal directly with the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which owns the property.

Since the early 1980s, the county has acted as a middleman, leasing the dock space from the MTA and, in turn, subleasing it for the token fee of $1 a year to the village.

Under the current agreement, Greenport is responsible for day-to-day maintenance of the dock, while the county oversees long-term capital projects.

“It is a good move for both the county and for Greenport,” said Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue). “Over the years the county has just kept acquiring infrastructure … and it is time to re-evaluate. It is a benefit to the village, of course, because they would have local control.”

Since last year, both Mr. Krupski and the Greenport Village Board have been working to come to an agreement on the details of the lease. Tensions escalated when the village gave the floating fireboat Firefighter the green light to moor at the Railroad Dock without the county’s permission.

Although Suffolk has not taken action against the village, in January it ordered the nonprofit Firefighter Museum to remove the historic vessel from the county-controlled dock by March 31 at the expense of either the organization or its individual members.

Nevertheless, Greenport Village Board members voted March 24 to allow Firefighter to remain at the dock for $200 per month in rent.

“This will give us local control and if anything happens we can go directly to the MTA and work it out,” said village Trustee George Hubbard.

With both parties voicing interest in letting Greenport taking control of the dock, the Legislature is expected to vote in favor of giving up the lease at its meeting on Tuesday, July 29, Mr. Krupski said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hubbard said a new lease agreement will allow the fireboat to remain in Greenport.

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