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Greenport BID seeks the return of parklets

The Greenport Village Business Improvement District requested the return of a pandemic-era dining plan in a letter to village trustees last week. 

BID asked the village to approve and submit a plan to the state Department of Transportation for permission to reinstall “parklets,” boxed-in street dining, from Memorial Day through Columbus Day weekend.

“The path to recovery continues and we have received stories from our merchant members about how their customers and patrons still seek to enjoy outdoor dining, commerce and open space to feel comfortable,” BID president Richard Vandenburgh said in the letter.

The plan sent to the village board, drafted by BID, proposes moving to a fee-based licensing agreement for the parklets. Each parking/parklet spot would cost $350 for a food and beverage location and $250 for retail. Half of the fee would go to BID, to help with parklet installation and removal, in addition to any required maintenance. 

Food and beverage applicants would be required to obtain approvals from the county Department of Health and the State Liquor Authority for their expanded operations, and every applicant would be required to take out insurance “naming the Village as the additional insured as previously done,” Mr. Vandenburgh wrote. 

Each applicant would also sign a license agreement with the village to use the parklet space and be required to keep the area clean and safe. Items would be promptly removed by business owners in the event of severe weather or pending storms. 

Fire and Rescue would be consulted on parklet placement, to ensure access for equipment and response, and “remedial measures would be taken to prevent sitting on the parklets and dissuading pedestrians from crossing at areas not designed to be traversed by foot traffic,” according to the letter.

BID is also discussing a plan with Claudio’s to provide a subsidized shuttle service to transport employees in the village from the high school parking lot, to clear up congestion on Main and Front streets and make up for the 51 parking spaces dedicated to parklets. 

“While we do not expect that we would exceed the prior 51 parking spaces previously occupied by parklets, the opportunity to have a parklet should be considered as an equitable access opportunity for other potential merchants,” Mr. Vandenburgh wrote. 

He added: “Overall, the surveys and responses we have received have strongly supported the presence of the parklets and the increased animation and vibrancy they bring to the downtown village area remains strong.”

The village board acknowledged the letter at a work session last Thursday and said they would discuss it at their next meeting.