June 07, 2006
Occupation: Owner of Scrimshaw Restaurant in Greenport
Greenport and the North Fork is an area that is very special and unique. The North Fork has been changing a lot and is poised for even more growth. And up until now the changes in Greenport have been very well guided by the powers that be. The character of the town, the look of the buildings and quaintness of Main St. have been retained. All of this attracts visitors who will contribute to the economy, however the off-season and the dead of winter still present a problem for the merchants.
I feel that in order to capitalize on the local flavor, the entire downtown area has to enable Greenport to grow as a desirable destination. First, the businesses in town which currently close around 5 p.m. should extend their hours to fill a block of dead time between the vineyards closing, allowing the day-trippers in particular to wander around the town to shop and ultimately eat. So if the town businesses jointly agree to stay open until 7:30 p.m. during the summer and holiday season, they would draw more business and help the local economy.
And as far as local events — why aren't some of the attractions like fairs and festivals scheduled for mid-week or even for an entire week … as a week-long festival? The other thing I think the town should focus on are the many artists in this community, perhaps a week-long art fair or competition. This would provide a different cultural experience and broaden the appeal for visitors to Greenport.
The town has actually done a lot already. And it is my understanding that much of this work such as First Night has been done on a volunteer basis. I would like to suggest that the town consider creating a salaried position for a "cultural director," since it is only natural for a person's life to interfere or their commitment to waver in a volunteer position, resulting in them losing interest and ultimately departing. Maybe if it were a paid position they may stay longer and could concentrate on spearheading long term projects and on organizing committees to make these types of events happen by creating continuity. And, as an example, we could avoid what happened to First Night; having the town promote it for several years only to have it die.
Over the last 20 years I've treasured my house in East Marion, along with the very special North Fork way of life. The changes thus far on the North Fork have been subtle and positive, but progress is inevitable … so we must do what we can to keep the North Fork alive and vibrant.
If you live or work in the North Fork area and want to give us a piece of your mind about something, let The Independent — Traveler Watchman know by contacting Rick at 324-2500 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll pass it along to R.B. Stuart