Guest Spot: Zip line guy on what downtown looks like to him

05/20/2013 11:20 AM |

JOHN FINNEGAN PHOTO | “This is what it looks like behind some of the businesses on Main Street,” writes Urban Jungle Zip Lines’ John Finnegan.

I spent the weekend thinking about Urban Jungle Zip Lines, Riverhead, and how I misjudged a couple things.

I thought that a clean and green, and temporary, attraction by the riverfront would be appreciated and welcome as a great way to build awareness of the Peconic River and its natural beauty.

I thought that the businesses downtown would appreciate the additional foot traffic and revenue the attraction could bring.

I thought that downtown business in general, and the Parking District in particular, would appreciate the guaranteed revenue generated by the licensing fee.  It’s great that the Farmers Market and Car Show, among other events, don’t have to pay anything to use the parking lots but I am not looking for a free ride.

I appreciate the importance of parking to the businesses in the area.  Mr. Pickersgill helped to make this very clear to me

I appreciate the beauty of the riverfront, the investment made, and the potential it represents for this town.  Ms. Muma helped to make this clear to me.

Ray Dickhoff helped me to appreciate how important it is to to work with the people of this town and to work towards becoming a part of the events happening on the river, not displacing them.

And Mr. Coates helped me to appreciate that the political process might be more important than anything else.

I don’t know that I will get the chance to show everyone how much I understand and appreciate these things but I decided that I am going to try.

This is why:

I have attached pictures.

Dumpsters taking up space in the parking lot and on the sidewalk.

Boarded up windows.

Less than meticulous landscaping.

And thousands of square feet of empty stores.

This is what it looks like behind some of the businesses on Main Street.

As I said,  I think that the zip line attraction I have in mind for the area can help build awareness of the beauty of the Peconic.  I think the problem might be that it may also build awareness of the dreadful conditions behind the businesses that back up to the river.  I don’t understand why it looks like this if everybody cares so much.

I was happy to listen to the concerns of the business owners regarding what I am trying to do in their backyard.  However, based on what it looks like back there, I don’t know how much any of us should value their opinions on this matter.

The author is the proprietor of Urban Jungle Zip Lines, which has proposed installing a Zip Line along the Peconic Riverfront. A part-time Jamesport resident in his youth, he lives with his family in North Salem, N.Y.

JOHN FINNEGAN PHOTO

JOHN FINNEGAN PHOTO

 

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