May 10, 2006
Marina Opening Signals Village Business Boon
After years of planning, opening day of Greenport's brand-new Mitchell Marina's first-ever full season is less than a week away. And, with this year's launch of the 61-slip transient marina, set to kick off on May 15, area merchants are anticipating a much-welcomed boon in business.
|Senator Ken LaValle, Trustee Mitchell Marina is unveiled. (click for larger version)|
"For the first time since Mitchell's Restaurant and Marina closed its doors 27 years ago, guests can tie up at the marina just as they did in generations past and sample the plethora of pleasures that Greenport has to offer visiting mariners," said Village Trustee Jamie Mills, who has spearheaded the Mitchell Marina project for the past nine years.
Visitors who attended last September's Maritime Festival in the village, witnessed a bevy of boats docked at a packed-to-capacity Mitchell Marina. It was a sight to behold for local business owners sure to reap the benefits of the new facility.
"The marina will benefit the village economy by attracting a new class of visitors who will arrive without cars," said Greenport Mayor David Kapell. "Boaters are known for highly-discretionary spending habits that will provide a significant boost to merchants in the business district."
Merchants can't wait. "I think it's going to do tremendous things for the village," said Bob Paquette, owner of the Arcade on Front Street. Traditionally, the Maritime Festival weekend is always slow for the large department store. Last year, however, Paquette said the official grand opening of Mitchell Marina was responsible for a spike in sales. "I think the crowd the marina brought were shoppers."
Mitchell Marina, he said, is another selling point of Mitchell Park, which is a magnet for families. "How the park has turned out has just been tremendous," he said. "Someone who hasn't been in the village in six years could not believe how different it looks."
Mom-and-pop shops in the village, Paquette admitted, have been struggling, with more than a few, including Gifts by Lindon, forced to shut their doors. Better times, he believes, are ahead. "The marina is going to be a big, big plus," he said.
Steve Pisacano, manager at Claudio's, agreed. "The marina will be beneficial to everyone, even to us, as a marina. It will bring even more people to the area."
Mitchell Marina, he said, will be an asset to the village business district, as it was in the 50s and 60s before a devastating fire that destroyed the restaurant and hotel.
"Obviously, it's going to bring many tourists to the area," said Pisacano, who added that in recent years, Claudio's has had to turn away boaters due to lack of available dockage. "Mitchell Marina will not only be an asset to the community, it will once again be utilized to its full potential and bring back the harbor to its full beauty."
Pisacano remembers the final days of the former Mitchell's when the area "was depressed, and the docks were falling apart." Today, he said, residents should "hold their heads high and be proud" of Greenport's transformation. With group events scheduled, Pisacano says the marina promises economic prosperity to a village whose tides have turned. "I think it's the final stroke of the artist's brush," he said.
The cost of the marina portion of the Mitchell Park project was $1 million, $500,000 of which was funded through an Environmental Protection Fund grant from the NYS Department of State, with the remainder bonded by the village.
Mitchell Marina features 61 heavy duty concrete floating dock slips, which help minimize wave action, as well as deep-water (32-feet) fixed dock space. In addition, the marina offers amenities including water, electric, cable television, a free pump-out station, heads and showers, a bathing beach, a dog run, and wireless Internet access.
According to Mills, reservations are accepted for overnight stays only. Rates for overnight stays are $3/foot, and $1/foot for day stays. Dinner dockage is available from 5-10 p.m. for .50 cents/ foot. For more information, call 477-2200.