15 Sep 2014
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Board Bids Controversial Fireboat Good-Bye

The controversial vessel will not be allowed to tie up at any village owned dock.

Board Bids Controversial Fireboat Good-Bye
After months of controversy, the Greenport village board unanimously passed a resolution Monday night that will prevent the fireboat from ever again berthing at a village dock.

For months, some Greenport fishermen were fit to be tied over a fireboat that moved to the railroad dock.

Despite weeks of opposition from the public, the Greenport village board voted in July to move the  fireboat that had been moored at Mitchell Park Marina over to the railroad dock.

Greenport fisherman Sid Smith said the fireboat would take up too much space on the dock, leaving little or no room for commercial vessels that have paid for dockage. 

In addition, the fireboat, Smith said, posed safety concerns. The boat, he said, was built in 1937 and has an aging hull and rivets.

It wasn't the first time the contentious Fireboat "Firefighter" museum had sparked fierce opposition in recent months.

During past village board meetings, Smith said under the terms of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, commercial waterfront property should be the highest priority; the area is not meant for "tourists or museums."

The boat, he said, could block passage of the ferries.

Resident John Saladino said while he was indifferent about the fireboat, it didn't belong in the marina where the village could collect fees from the potential rental space.

Former Trustee and oyster farmer Michael Osinski raised questions about a business plan for the fireboat and asked when it was last hauled and inspected; the last time it was hauled that anyone knows of was ten years ago.

A representative of the North Ferry company said the boat could have posed safety concerns during high winds and present a "real threat to our navigation. We're imploring the board not to put it on that south face."

Steve Clarke, owner of the Greenport Yacht & Shipbuilding Company, welcomed any attraction that draws visitors but said the fireboat raised serious concerns.

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