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Letter: Why Can’t Port Washington Be More Like Port Jefferson?

Last weekend my wife and I joined with friends for a visit to Port Jefferson. It was a beautiful way to spend the day. We walked along the waterfront, visited several beautiful shops, ate dinner at a lovely waterfront restaurant, and finished up with some delicious homemade ice cream. The town was packed with visitors from all over the Island all enjoying the day. The local businesses and restaurants were crowded. There were several local parking lots to handle the traffic. A beautiful waterfront hotel seemed to be humming as well. But then, we drove home to Port Washington, where our residents and politicians seem to want to discourage outsiders from visiting. Our town established a visioning committee a while back. Two of their key recommendations were a hotel and increased parking. We turned down a request for a waterfront hotel and now seem to be moving toward rejecting a badly needed parking garage because it might be used by outsiders and create too much traffic. How many empty storefronts and half empty restaurants do we need before we realize that the answer to our problems is making Port Washington more like Port Jefferson? Let us make it a destination for visitors and not just a bedroom community. For goodness sake, we have the waterfront, the restaurants, the shops, and even the ice cream parlors. Now all we need is the vision and the political will to make it happen.

Larry Helft