2008-03-20 / Front Page

Dock project is touch and go

By Sam Bari

Town Council President Julio DiGiando reported to the Harbor Management Commission at its March 12 meeting that although the Town Council approved engineering requests for East Ferry that included a design for a touch and go dock, Town Administrator Bruce Keiser asked if an alternate plan could be considered for the project.

DiGiando, who is also the Town Council liaison to the harbor commission, said that he was at the town administrator's office to discuss another matter and happened to walk in when Keiser and Conanicut Marine owner Bill Munger were engaged in a conversation. He said the three of them discussed the design plans for the touch and go dock at East Ferry during an impromptu conversation. Munger leases the East Ferry Marina from the town through his company, Conanicut Marine.

DiGiando said that Keiser asked him to present a plan to the harbor commission for the new touch and go dock that would extend perpendicularly from the wood pile pier to the north for 40-feet. One side would be exclusively for fishing, while the other side would be used for docking. He said that the docking side could also be used for fishing as long as boats were not docked or trying to dock.

Munger, who attended the harbor commission monthly meeting, was quick to say that the plan DiGiando was showing to the commissioners was not his plan.

Facilities Committee Chairman Robert Bowen said "the approved money was for a touch and go dock attached to the north side, running parallel to the wood pile pier for 40 feet." He also said "the plans for a dock running perpendicular to the pier were rejected by the Town Council at its Feb. 11 meeting." He continued to say there was not enough money approved for the engineering of two sets of plans.

DiGiando said the plan that was rejected "attached the touch and go dock to a 100-foot extension of the wood pile pier." He went on to say that "it wasn't the perpendicular design that was rejected; it was the 100-foot extension."

A meeting was planned with the facilities committee and the RT Engineering Group of East Providence, the company hired to engineer the waterfront projects, for Thursday, March 13. However, Committee Chairman Bowen cancelled the meeting when he learned that key personnel in the decision-making process were not available.

The meeting is being rescheduled for the last week in March, but Bowen wants to know which plans are being engineered before the meeting takes place. That has yet to be determined.

In other harbor business, Executive Director Thomas Tighe reported that he, Keiser, and Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero were scheduled to meet with Ribcraft of Marblehead, Mass., on March 19 to discuss the cost of repairs to the harbormaster's boat. Harbor Management Commission Chairman Michael de Angeli asked if he could attend the meeting and Tighe readily agreed.

The 21-foot, 3-inch long by 8-feet, 6-inch beamed harbormaster's patrol boat was made by Ribcraft at a cost of $97,920 to the town. A month after the boat was first put in the water, it was hauled for routine maintenance. Extreme galvanic corrosion was discovered causing the antifouling bottom paint to peel and the gunnels to separate from the hull.

Tighe also reported that new channel markers and two new marker buoys were being installed at the town beach in the Jamestown Shores known to locals as Head's Beach. The marker buoys hold signs that say, "No boats beyond this point." The buoys are being installed to protect swimmers from boat traffic.

Traffic Committee Chairman Robert Bowen reported that the committee is making a recommendation for parking on Walcott Avenue to be moved from the east to the west side of the street from Brook Street to High Street. The committee is also recommending extended parking on Union Street and to restrict truck loading zones on Narragansett Avenue.

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