Greenport BID looks for long-range plans for the village

After a trial run of installing ‘parklets’ and closing roads in Greenport to help businesses bounce back from the COVID-19 shutdown, the Business Improvement District has shifted its attention to more long-range plans for the summer.

During a BID meeting held via Zoom Thursday, president Rich Vandenburgh updated members on progress made as well as feedback he’s received from merchants and visitors.

“We are feeling confident that we’re on the right path,” he told members, evoking the Teddy Roosevelt quote: ‘In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.’ “

Last weekend, village officials agreed to temporarily shut Front Street between First Street and Main Street from noon Friday until 8 a.m. Monday in order to allow merchants to utilize the space and install additional parklets.

He said the majority of feedback he received was positive.

Jennifer DiVello, who owns the Revel North Fork boutique on Front Street, said she was impressed with the plan despite some initial reservations.

“It worked out really well,” she said. “It was much better than I expected.”

Mr. Vandenburgh said many people compared the trial set up to scenes from Europe. “Very relaxed, very open and kind of lower key,” he said. “I think that’s some of the vibe we were looking for.”

The road closure will not be in effect this weekend due to a planned graduation parade for the Greenport Class of 2020 ahead of their graduation ceremony Sunday, he said, but the BID and village are working together on a longer term plan for the remainder of summer.

The BID funded four portable toilets, which will be placed in Mitchell Park and on Adams Street and will continue to advocate for increasing public space outdoors. “The village has stepped up and embraced the idea by adding picnic tables in Mitchell Park,” he said.

A new parklet between Harbor Pet and D’Latte on Main Street was set for installation Friday morning and Mr. Vandenburgh said the next will be placed further north on Main Street near Brix & Rye.

He said additional parklets could be possible based on demand.

“We want to make sure we aren’t just constructing these things to remain vacant,” Mr. Vendenburgh said. 

Later Thursday, during a village board of trustees meeting, officials ratified an agreement between village and SHoP architects for the pro-bono parklet design.

Mr. Vandenburgh said the BID board continues to meet at least twice a week as plans take shape. “We need to continue to be agile and adaptive to change things and adjust things,” as Phase 4 looms, he said.