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Greenport to consider proposal to give parts of downtown local historic designation

Greenport’s Historic Preservation Commission outlined several preservation priorities, following a review of a historical resources survey accepted by the state last year, at a village board meeting on Monday. 

The commission obtained funding from the state office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Village of Greenport two years ago to conduct a “reconnaissance level historic resources survey” to identify historic resources in the village and “for possible consideration for the state and national register of historic places.”

“We feel that preserving the commercial district, as much of its original look as possible, has the highest impact to preserve Greenport’s historic character and charm,” said Karen Doherty, commission chairperson.

She outlined three areas to prioritize for preservation at Monday’s meeting, including Green Hill Cemetery. Both sides of Front Street, from Main Street to Third Street and from Third Street to Sixth Street, should be designated as a local historic district as well, she said. 

Ms. Doherty said the historic preservation commission has been engaged in a lengthy process of reviewing the report, which is available on the Village of Greenport website and was compiled by Preservation Studios, a historic preservation consulting firm. The commission accepted public comment on the survey at its June 2021 meeting, she said.  

Greenport village historians participated in the process and helped identify “key areas historically important to the people and character of Greenport.”

“Our process of review and collaboration culminated in a set of historic preservation recommendations, which the HPC approved,” Ms. Doherty said.  

Acknowledging that acting on those recommendations “represents a commitment of time and money,” she said the commission recommends a “phase-in process.”

“Our recommendation that Front Street be designated a local historic district can be accomplished through Greenport Village code,” she said. “The trustees may designate a group of properties if they possess the landmark qualities of ‘significant character or historic or aesthetic interest or value as part of the maritime architectural, economic or social heritage of the village.’”

She emphasized the “accelerating” pace of change in Greenport and subsequent importance of paying attention to historic places in the village. The village’s maritime history and heritage are a valuable facet to the marketing strategy for many Greenport businesses, she added.

“Greenport is the crown jewel of the North Fork. The historic homes, buildings, neighborhoods and waterfront, the character of Greenport, are the main reasons people come here to visit or settle,” Ms. Doherty said. “Lastly, the people who grew up here, who raised families here, who have ancestors and deep family connections to Greenport, are entitled to a town they can recognize. There are generational layers of stories and histories associated with the different buildings on Front Street. It is important to the social fabric of the community that this architectural and historical legacy be preserved.”