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Recreation

Huntington Harbormaster Fred Uvena gives a tour of accident-prone sites. File Photo by Kyle Barr

Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) decided to postpone voting on the town’s new mooring policy after the May 29 public hearing on the issue at Town Hall. 

“The supervisor felt the board needed additional time to contemplate the code changes and accompanying rate increases,” said Lauren Lembo, public information officer for Lupinacci, in response to an email inquiry.

The Wednesday afternoon meeting attracted a large number of speakers opposed to the changes.  Many complaints centered on the additional fees and insurance requirements.  Residents who spoke thought that visiting yachts should be responsible for absorbing additional costs, rather than taxpaying residents. 

The proposed mooring resolution as currently drafted aims to accomplish the following:

• Prevent irresponsible boat ownership and irresponsible boating.

 • Place liability for all costs incurred by the town in removing, storing and disposing of unseaworthy and wrecked vessels on the owner or person responsible for the vessel. 

 • Increase required insurance limits for vessel wreck removal and pollution mitigation; assure those who have concerns that this will, in fact, not require the Town to be named as an additional insured.

 • Lower the cost of transient commercial mooring permits from $200 to $40 to help the local maritime economy.

• Allow the 40 or so commercial baymen who operate in Huntington’s waterways to have their mooring permit included with the issuance or renewal of their commercial license, making it easier to do business in the Town of Huntington.

• Establish a nominal $40 season permit fee to be deposited into the board of trustees account. Non-residents already pay $200 for the same season permit to help cover the costs of vessel wreck removal, pollution mitigation, and remediation of navigational safety hazards.  The fees would also be used to help fund building a database to help the town identify who owns the boats on town moorings in the harbor, so the town can hold violators responsible for hazardous boating safety conditions.

“Our maritime and harbormaster staff often remove debris from the water—dislodged docks from Connecticut, wrecked and abandoned vessels in our own waterways and other hazards that can cause harm to life and property near our shorelines,” Lupinacci said at the meeting. “The town spent over $50,000 last year removing derelict and abandoned boats in an effort to keep the harbor safe to navigate and protect our water quality. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for the consequences of irresponsible boat ownership.”

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New plans for stairs near Toast Coffeehouse. Left photo by Kyle Barr; right image from Deck and Patio Company

The stairs leading up from the parking lot in front of Portside Bar & Grill is full of dried grass and aging streetlights with extension cords reaching out the top like lifelines on ancient scuba gear.

Now, a Smithtown-based metal fabrication company is proposing a complete remodel of the path leading up to the stairs, even including a waterfall and pond.

Sean Hanley, left, and Mayor Margot Garant discuss new staircase and park. Photo by Kyle Barr

“That water feature would bring the whole thing to a whole other level,” Port Jefferson village Mayor Margot Garant said. “It would be just so calming.”

Sean Hanley, whose wife, Melissa Hanley, owns Salon Blonde hairstylists across the street from the staircase, has known the area for a long while, and approached Garant at the start of the year about transforming the aging staircase and pathway.

“My mother lives in the village — we’re really local, and I always felt that space needed some work there,” he said. Hanley is the owner of LB Fabrication & Automation, a metal fabricator and mason based in Smithtown. 

The designs were created in part by Hanley and by Huntington Station–based Deck and Patio Company, which he hopes will be used when it comes time to start the landscaping portion of the project.

“The space is not totally flat in there, so it doesn’t allow for seating areas everywhere, and we just had to come up with something nice,” the metal fabricator said. “Really want to dress up that sign and walkway so people feel comfortable walking up those stairs.”

Last year in the winter of 2017 and 2018, the village closed the stairs for what it said was necessary renovations due to safety concerns. Garant said she would like lighting that maintains a rustic aesthetic of nearby signage on storefronts.

While the plans don’t include them, Hanley has discussed putting in a waterfall feature on the left-hand wall, which can be seen from the parking lot. They are also considering putting in a stream that would go from the waterfall over to a planned pond. The metal fabricator said the pond can be built so it can be drained down below ground far enough so it won’t freeze during the winter months.

“Everybody was really on board with this,” Garant said.

Plans for pocket park near Toast Coffeehouse. Image by Deck and Patio Company

The concrete pathway would be replaced by herringbone brick that continues up the stairs to the top level. Hanley also said he wants to create a decorative latticing underneath the stairs to cut off access for pedestrians, and that he would want to clean up the stairs themselves of rust.

Along with plans for the stairs, Hanley is also in talks with the village to replace some of the signage in parks, such as Founders Park, with those made from powdered aluminum, so it won’t rust.

Garant said she needs to show the plans to the Business Improvement District. She also intends to speak to the owners of Portside Bar & Grill about adding additional fencing along their building to shield from view when employees use the bottom side entrance. She also said she intends to look into opening up the alleyway between The Kate & Hale and The Secret Garden.

The mayor and metal fabrication owner said there are still details to be worked out over how many companies the village will put out to bid for, what will be the total costs and what is the phasing plan for the project. Overall, they hope to have the project done by the end of spring.

While the details need to still be worked out on which companies will complete the project, Garant said she is looking to see if they can do parts of the project with in-house staff.

“It’s still a public project,” she said.

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Maritime Boater’s Festival June 3 and 4 at Harborfront Park. Community members of all ages came out to enjoy food, music and activities during the two-day festival.

Port Jefferson Village’s second annual Heritage Weekend is fast approaching. The event features more than 15 cultural and historical locations for residents and visitors to explore on Saturday, Aug. 20, and Sunday, Aug. 21. Each stop is set to include presentations with interesting information, historical photos of the village that used to be known as Drowned Meadow, as well as fun, interactive activities.

The Port Times Record will preview each of the featured locations around the village leading up to Heritage Weekend. This week includes a look at the attractions that will be take place at the Village Center during the weekend. If you missed part one, click here.

Historic recreation photo exhibit

At the Village Center, an exhibit featuring vintage photos featuring the fun of bygone summers will be on display. The exhibit, called Not Just Child’s Play — Rewinding Our Pastimes, depicts what Port Jefferson was like as a tourist attraction, weekend getaway spot and community staple nearly 100 years ago. Costumed actors will be present amid the exhibit and on the beach at Harborfront Park outside of the Village Center dressed in vintage swimming attire.

Sue Orifici, who handles graphic design for the Village Center, and Village Historian Chris Ryon each spoke about what to expect from the exhibit.

“It’s just going to be another [chance] to go back in time where you can show your children what it was like to be young in those days,” Orifici said. “That visual is something that people need. It’s more than just telling them.”

Ryon said he hopes the exhibit will dispel some common misconceptions.

“People had fun a long time ago and I don’t now if everybody thinks that,” he said. “We want to show that people did relax. They weren’t working constantly. They weren’t all dying of small pox.”

Orifici said there remains many similarities between the village as it was then and now.

“People love to come to Port Jeff because they can walk around,” she said. “You didn’t have to have a car to get around because everything is walking distance.”

Model A Ford Club of Long Island

Vintage Model A Fords built between 1929 and 1931 will be visible all over the village during Heritage Weekend. The car club will be stationed at the Village Center and the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce for a majority of the weekend, though club member Jon Reiff said the group will circulate around the area to show off their cool rides.

“They’re not museum pieces — we do drive them on a regular basis,” he said.

The club is also planning to head to Belle Terre Village during the weekend for a photo opportunity. Reiff said he expects at least 10 vintage Fords to be on display throughout the weekend, but depending on weather, there could be a fleet of Model A’s flooding Port Jefferson streets for Heritage Weekend.

Liberty Balloon Company

The Liberty Balloon Company will be supplying a 60-by-60-foot hot air balloon to be stationed at the Village Center on Saturday. Carroll Teitsworth, a pilot from the company, will be sending a representative to conduct an educational presentation about the science behind the balloons and what makes them fly through the air.

The exhibition will address the history of ballooning as a means of transportation and the impact weather has on traveling by a balloon-suspended basket.

The display will be followed by a live demonstration featuring the inflated balloon in action.

Village Hall is visible in the background of a basketball court at Rocketship Park. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Basketball players could soon be shooting hoops on a fresh surface in downtown Port Jefferson.

Village officials have approved a $15,000 proposal to repair the basketball courts at Rocketship Park, between Barnum Avenue and the municipal parking lot behind Village Hall.

“Our basketball courts are in disrepair out back,” Mayor Margot Garant said at the board of trustees meeting on Monday night.

But there is surplus money the village previously set aside, in the event those courts would have to be completely renovated. Instead, work simply needs to be done to repair cracks and “take away what we call the ‘birdbaths,’ or puddles,” she said.

The plan, which the board approved at its meeting, includes putting in lines for pickleball play at the courts. That sport involves paddles and has similarities to tennis and badminton.

Trustee Stan Loucks, who is the board’s liaison to the Port Jefferson Country Club, said the village feels comfortable hiring East Norwich-based Championship Tennis Courts LLC to do the basketball court project because that same company has done work on the country club’s tennis courts for the last five years.

“They do a terrific job,” Loucks said.

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