Greenport Village will be temporarily closing Front Street between First Street and Main Street beginning Friday, June 19, at noon until Monday at 8 a.m., according to Mayor George Hubbard Jr.
It also will be setting up additional “parklets” in front of stores on Front Street and Main Street, according to Rich Vandenburgh, the president of the Greenport Business Improvement District, which has advocated for the changes.
The parklets, which involves closing off parking spaces and putting tables and chairs in those spaces for merchants to use, was agreed upon by the village trustees last month, according to Mr. Hubbard.
The parklets can remain in place for 120 days from the signing of an executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. That order was renewed on June 16 and would expire in October.
The temporary closure of the section of Front Street was done by the mayor through an executive order, Mr. Hubbard said.
The moves are part of an effort to help local businesses to recover from the closures and limitations on businesses that were imposed by Mr. Cuomo in an effort to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading.
The BID first publicly proposed the plan to village officials at a May 21 Village Board work session, and then set up a test trial on the weekend of May 30 and 31 in which the parking spaces along Front Street and Main Street were temporarily blocked off.
Last week, the village did a test run of the plan in which parklets were placed on four locations across from the post office. The four businesses were Agave, Tikal, Tea & Tchotchkes and Not Just Bows, according to Mr. Vandenburgh.
Those business owners were very happy with the parklets, and other business owners soon sought to be part of the trial run as well. Mr. Vandenburgh said.
Starting Friday, more parklets will be in place on a temporary basis.
The parklets will be located on:
• Western Front Street in front of Front Street Station to Sakura; and
• South Main Street on the west side of the road from Lucharitos to Claudios.
The following weekend, (June 27), the BID is hoping to add parklets on:
• the east side of lower Main Street from Harbor Pet to D’Latte
• Main Street from Crazy Beans to the Adams Street parking lot
• and North Main Street from South Street to Central Avenue, according to Mr. Vandenburgh.
Mr. Hubbard said that has not been approved yet.
The road closure that went into effect on Friday (June 19) runs on Front Street from Main Street to 1st Street. This will allow merchants within that block to expand their stores outdoors, Mr. Vandenburgh said.
The BID’s long-range goal is to have the closure in place, seven days per week, for up to 120 days, which would run through October.
The village also is in the process of placing 12 picnic tables in Mitchell Park as a common eating area.
“In the end, what we’re trying to do is help out merchants, as well as to provide greater opportunities for people to have space to move around,” Mr. Vanderburgh said. “I’m very encouraged and optimistic that this is something that will work.”
“It seems like it’s going well,” Mr. Hubbard said. “Last weekend was a success and now everybody wants them (parklets). They all want more room outside. We’ll find out Wednesday when you’re allowed to use 50% percent of your space for inside dining. They may not need (outside spaces) as much.”