Information About the McKean Fireboat Request for Home Port Status

The Village Board is currently considering a request received from the Board of Directors of the Fireboat McKean Preservation Project

Brief background about the request:

On November 7, 2022, the Village received a letter of notification from the State Historic Preservation Commission indicating that the Fireboat McKean had applied for historic preservation status with a home port listed at the Tarrytown Marina. The hearing of the State Historic Preservation Review Board was scheduled to approve or deny the application on December 8, 2022, and the Village was presented with the opportunity of commenting on the application. At the November 30, 2022 Work Session, the Board of Trustees heard from representatives of the Fireboat, and had some of their questions answered, but decided that many more questions remained and they needed more time to deliberate on the matter. The Board of Trustees instructed the Village Administrator to submit a letter to the State Historic Review Board requesting that the matter be postponed to a future State Historic Review Board agenda to give the Village of Tarrytown an opportunity to further review the matter and weigh in. The Board of Trustees also asked the Fireboat McKean Presevration Project to demonstrate community support for the Fireboat McKean Preservation Project housing itself in Tarrytown.

On December 8, the State Historic Review Board voted to approve the State Historic Preservation Status of the Fireboat McKean without hearing input from the Village of Tarrytown (you can watch the meeting here, with the Fireboat deliberations between 1:21:30 and 1:36:17), but agreed to not send the application to the National Historic Preservation Review for 60 days to give the opportunity for the Village to comment. 

The Board of Trustees must decide whether to comment on the Fireboat's application before February 6, and will deliberate at the January 25 Work Session.

A memo summarizing some of the questions and concerns raised at the community meetings along with answers to some of the questions can be found here. Comments submitted in writing have also been shared with the Board of Trustees.

What is home port status and what does it mean for the Fireboat McKean?

Home Port Status must be assigned as part of an application for State and National Historic Preservation Status. For a boat, the home port status stays with the designation, even though the historic preservation status would not be granted to the marina itself, nor would the marina be able to benefit from grant funds or otherwise because of the designation. Home port status does not mean the Fireboat McKean must always reside in Tarrytown. Nevertheless, because the application was submitted with Tarrytown Marina as the home port, if they had to change the home port at this point in the process, they would have to start the application process over again. If they are granted the designation with Tarrytown Marina as the home port, and then after a period of time, wanted/needed to change their home port address, they could do so with a simple amendment  - a letter submitted to the Review Board for consideration.

What does home port status mean for the Village of Tarrytown? What obligations and burdens does it place on the Village? 

The Tarrytown Marina property is owned by the Village, but leased to the private entity that currently owns the former Tarrytown Boat Club. The private owner is responsible for the maintenance of the docks, and the marina, including the dredging of the harbor. The Fireboat McKean proposes to initially dock on the southwest corner of the Tarrytown Marina outside of the sea wall (see presentation) until the harbor is dredged, at which point they would want to dock in the berth adjacent to the former Tarrytown Boat Club property for easy access. Questions remain about liability for the Village should anything happen with the boat while on Village property and the Village is investigating this issue. The Village is investigating other questions that have been raised about hosting the boat in its harbor as well. 

What is the Fireboat McKean Preservation Project proposing for Tarrytown and why do they want to be here? 

The Fireboat McKean Preservation Project has a long term vision for the preservation of the boat and sharing its storied history with others. On January 10, 2023, they held two community meetings in Tarrytown Senior Center to explain their mission and request. The presentation slides are attached here and the videos of the two meetings are below. Please see their presentation in their own words for a better understanding of their vision for the Fireboat. Much information about the Fireboat's history and support for its efforts can be found on its website. In brief, the Fireboat Board Members see many opportunities in our community and in the region to educate and promote events related to the Fireboat's history. However, access to the boat in Tarrytown would be limited until the boat can be docked at a safe berth in the harbor.

Why Tarrytown?

Many of the Fireboat McKean's volunteers and supporters live here and in neighboring communities. Maintenance and repair of the boat would be easier for the volunteers than where it is currently docked in Stony Point, or where it was previously docked at Pier 25 in New York. Tarrytown is also a central location for the Fireboat's activities, and its travels between New York City and Albany.

Why didn't the Fireboat McKean Preservation Project notify the Village before the application?

Because the Tarrytown Marina is owned by the Village, but leased to a private entity, the Fireboat McKean Preservation Project Board reports that they did not realize they had to notify the Village since they would be entering into a lease arrangement directly with the private entity, like any other boat that docks in the marina. They have since expressed a desire to work in partnership with the Village in the interest of long term success. Despite the fact that the boat would be docked on property leased by the Tarrytown Marina, change of use would be subject to potential site plan review, so it would be in the Fireboat McKean's best interest to ensure community and Village support for the Fireboat's presence. 

What now? 

The Village is requesting that community members submit comments to the Board of Trustees about the prospect of having the Fireboat McKean docked in Tarrytown both as currently proposed and in the long term: The Board of Trustees is investigating implications of having the Fireboat docked in its marina. The Board will need to decide at the January 25th Work Session how it wants to respond to the application. Please feel free to reach out to the Administrator's office with any questions or concerns. 





Fireboat McKean Presentation Session 1 January 10, 2023