The Port Commission made a motion to restrict tour operators and the general public from the marine service center after the 2017 season at its meeting Wednesday. The motion passed unanimously. The issue has been discussed since the early summer months.

Port Commissioner John Yeager says the decision was made mainly due to safety concerns.

“We are working on that yard being designated as a limited access area if you will,” he said. “I don’t have the exact verbiage, but there will be a designation, possibly an ordinance that will come down for that designation.”

Yeager says there will be a designated route for the public during next season, and signs will be posted at the gates as to what that route will be. There was a workshop on the issue prior to the meeting. No tour operators were at either the meeting or workshop. Tour operators give bus tours through the yard and typically sell tickets a year in advance.

Commissioners also voted to create a five-person committee for a Mariner’s Memorial. The panel received complete designs for the memorial in late 2015. Yeager says it will be built in three phases.

“We have the design work, we have what that phase will consist of,” said Yeager. “But, now we just need funding, and we need to figure out when it will be possible to break ground on that first phase.”

The committee will consist of two port commissioners and three members of the public. It will seek funding for the memorial and keep the public updated on its progress. Yeager says a date for groundbreaking at the Heritage Harbor site will become clearer in the spring.

The Commission was asked by the Borough Assembly to comment on the potential sale of borough’s belt freezer. The freezer was built in the 2000s to boost the local seafood industry. Trident Seafoods offered $950,000 in June.

The Commission approved a motion supporting the sale. The assembly is asking Planning & Zoning and the Economic Development Committee as well. It will make a final decision based on all the panels’ comments. Trident pays $15,000 a year under the current lease.

Also on the agenda were long-term lease options in the marine service center. The Commission will examine that issue during its next meeting following a workshop.