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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone transferred the Deed for the Shinnecock Dock to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman in a ceremony at the Dock, June 28, 2019. The County transfer includes the 2 acre dock and 11 acres of beach front along Shinnecock Bay to the west of the Dock that stretches to almost Road I.
Shinnecock Dock is home to two dozen commercial fishing boats, one of the largest commercial fishing fleets in New York State. Until this transfer, it was owned by Suffolk County but operated by the Town of Southampton under an inter-municipal agreement.
The Commercial Dock was initially developed in the early 1980’s by the Suffolk County Department of Public Works. In 2002, the Town of Southampton entered into an Inter-municipal agreement with the County as a tenant to operate, manage and repair the Shinnecock Commercial Dock “to foster, enhance and secure success of the local commercial fishing industry.” During those years, the Town shared in the costs of repairs and upgrades with the County, including after Superstorm Sandy in 2013.
“This is another great example of municipalities working together to protect taxpayers while making smart investments that help our region realize its full potential,” said County Executive Steve Bellone. “I want to thank Supervisor Schneiderman for his willingness to enter into this agreement that will highlight a crowned jewel on the East End and catalyze an important revitalization project in the town.”
“Our commercial fishing industry is a vital part of our economy and our history,” said Southampton Town Supervis Jay Schneiderman. “I want to thank County Executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele and New York State Senator Ken LaValle for working together to make this transfer happen.”
The transfer required approval from the Town and County as well as the State Legislature because parkland was changing ownership from one governmental entity to another.
“I am very pleased that Southampton Town is now the proud owner of the Shinnecock Commercial Dock,” said Southampton Town Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, whose family is part of the commercial fishing industry. “Our commercial fishing industry is a significant contributor to the economy. Captains and crew of these vessels are the bread-winners for many of our local fishing families. These boats provide the fresh wild caught seafood that is served in restaurants and fish markets across our Town, and around the world. The industry indirectly supports other related sectors of business, including bait and tackle shops, local hardware stores, welders, electricians, and many others. Taking ownership of the infrastructure that is so important to our fishermen shows that the Town understands the importance of supporting this historical industry.”
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. stated, “I was pleased to work with Legislator Fleming and the Town of Southampton in getting the enabling legislation passed last Session to allow for the transfer. Now, that the Town is officially the owner of the Shinnecock Commercial Fishing Dock, necessary repairs and dock improvements can move forward to better serve our thriving fishing industry without burdening county taxpayers."
Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Flemingsaid, “The transfer will consolidate government services, reduce the burden on taxpayers, assure local control and maintenance, and allow the Town to begin a revitalization project of the area that will benefit the commercial fishing industry and visitors alike.”
The next phase of rehabilitation will be bulkhead replacement and electrical infrastructure upgrades. The bay front property west of the dock will be added to the Town’s Parks and Recreation Department.
The ceremony concluded with a blessing of the fleet.