The Shinnecock Commercial Dock and an 11-acre beachfront parcel on Shinnecock Bay now belong to Southampton Town.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced the transfer of the deed May 14. The two-acre dock property is home to two-dozen commercial fishing boats, making it one of the largest commercial fishing fleets in New York State.
“I am very pleased that Southampton Town is now the proud owner of the Shinnecock Commercial Dock,” said 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 breadwinners 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 dock was initially developed in the early 1980s by the Suffolk County Department of Public Works. In 2002, the town entered into an intermunicipal agreement with the county as a tenant to operate, manage, and repair it. The town also agreed 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.
“The industry indirectly supports other related sectors of business, including bait and tackle shops, local hardware stores, welders, electricians, and many others,” Lofstad said. “Taking ownership of the infrastructure that is so important to our fishermen shows that the town understands the importance of supporting this historical industry.”
The transfer catalyzes a revitalization project. The next phase of rehabilitation will be bulkhead replacement and electrical infrastructure upgrades. The bayfront property west of the dock will be added to the town’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Bellone called the change of ownership of the “crown jewel on the East End” an example of municipalities working together to protect taxpayers while making smart investments that help the region realize its full potential. Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming agreed.
“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,” she said.
A ceremonial transfer of the deed is scheduled for June 28 at 11 AM at the dock.