2007-12-28 / News

Harbor Commission has unfinished projects on its agenda for the New Year

By Sam Bari

The Harbor Management Commission spent 2007 making plans, putting out fires, and prioritizing projects to get the best use out of their limited budget. Overall, the year was productive, informative, and thought provoking.

After wrestling with updated quotes, proposals and an increasing "to do" list, commissioner Robert Bowen, the facilities committee chairman, came up with a list that is being presented for review by the Town Council on projects that must be initiated on an as needed basis.

The list of waterfront improvements published in last week's Press included: the curbs and rails at East Ferry; the Ft. Getty boat ramp; the wood pile pier repairs; the wood pile pier new touch and go dock; the wood pile pier extension; the Ft. Getty pier; and the ferry landing at East Ferry. The list was a compilation of much needed repairs that must be initiated before they are beyond fixing and need to be replaced at greater expense.

Bowen said it doesn't make sense to add new things to deteriorating facilities. "Some of these projects are nearly a decade old and still haven't gone beyond repeated discussion," Bowen said at a meeting earlier in the year. Consequently, he and the facilities committee have worked long and hard hours over the past months to compile the list of "must do" projects. Along with the list are budget recommendations to initiate the tasks and complete them according to need. Chairman Michael de Angeli said he would review the report and discuss the projects with Town Administrator Bruce Keiser.

After the town administrator and Town Council review the list, the commission is hopeful approvals will be made, funds allocated, and projects will be initiated.

The commission also made tremendous headway on the Harbor Management Plan and ordinances. They met with the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) last May to discuss what was needed to complete the plans, and they are presently waiting for CRMC representatives to make rulings so plans can be submitted for approval.

In addition to waterfront improvement plans, management plans and ordinances, the commission was saddled with the new harbormaster's boat suffering from galvanic corrosion. The commission had been trying to replace the old harbormaster's boat for several years, and finally had the funds to purchase a boat designed to serve the town for a long time at a cost of nearly $98,000, according to de Angeli. The craft was only in the water a couple of months when severe galvanic corrosion was discovered, causing the inflatable hull to separate from the aluminum bottom.

The boat has been inspected, and analysis of the inspection is expected next week so that repairs can soon be under way to prepare the boat for use in the spring.

Despite the many obstacles preventing progress, the commission managed to install kayak racks, recommend mooring fields, and prepare a data base so that harbor business will be completely computerized by the beginning of the New Year. The ordinance and management plan will also be completed shortly, and put to rest. If all goes well, many harborfront improvements will be well on the way to completion by the beginning of the 2008 boating season.

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