Despite a long list of other projects to attend to, now is the time for Sag Harbor Village officials to roll up their sleeves and focus on formulating their vision for the renovation of Long Wharf.
Prompt action is required, the village board was told by its consulting engineers last week, so that plans can be submitted to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies for their review. That way, permits can be in hand and the project put out to bid in time for work to get underway this fall.
Much of the proposed $3.8 million project will be focused on shoring up a key piece of village infrastructure that has admittedly seen better days. The steel bulkhead around the wharf is rusting and way overdue for replacement. A sinkhole caused by a compromised bulkhead has appeared at the north end of the structure and is an accident — and maybe a million-dollar settlement — waiting to happen.
But other portions of the work, specifically plans for an improved walkway and a deck, with benches and planters, that would allow members of the public to stroll to the pier’s end and take a seat to enjoy the view, are what most people will be talking about in the years to come.
If completed as envisioned, the renovation will transform Long Wharf from simply a road jutting out into the harbor into a destination for residents and visitors alike and be another step in tying the waterfront together, as the village has been talking about doing for years.
The village, which sought state grant money for the project last year and lost out to the Sag Harbor Cinema for the big money it was seeking, still received a grant of $550,000 to get started on the project. It is applying for additional state and county funding this year to reduce the financial impact of the project village residents. The way those grants are doled out may require that the work be completed in two phases, but even a year’s wait would be worth it if the if the village can reclaim this forgotten jewel.