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Should parklets be used in Greenport again this summer?

An innovative solution to increase public space in Greenport last summer was celebrated as a pandemic success story.

But village officials want to know: should the parklets return in 2021?

Greenport’s Business Improvement District is currently collecting responses to a survey asking that very question as they begin planning for the upcoming season.

Richard Vandenburgh, BID president and cofounder of Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., said Friday that they’ve received approximately 50 responses so far and are hoping to collect hundreds more ahead of the board of trustees next work session March 18. 

“There clearly are opinions,” Mr. Vandenburgh said of the parklets.

He hopes village residents and business owners will participate, but is also encouraging nonresidents who visited Greenport this summer to take the survey. 

“Whether you visited and found it difficult to get around or find parking or thought it was a great place to hang out,” he said. “If someone’s got negative things to say that are constructive, we want to hear from everybody.”

The parklets were pitched as a way for restaurants to make up the difference after the state cut their indoor capacity in half in response to COVID-19 concerns. 

It enabled the village to leverage 51 parking spaces to create an additional 9,000 square feet of outdoor space for al-fresco dining and commercial sales. 

Though touted as a lifeline to local businesses struggling during the pandemic, some first responders raised concerns with the installation, fearing they could impede fire department response in case of an emergency downtown.

Mr. Vandenburgh said if approved to move forward this year, the BID would work with the fire department to make sure the layout is rescue-friendly.

While the board of trustees is expected to discuss parklets at its next work session, Mayor Geroge Hubbard Jr. has said that the decision may ultimately come down to the state Department of Transportation, who allowed their installation last summer as businesses reopened.

The 14-question survey is available online.