By Kathryn G. Menu
The restoration and renovation of Long Wharf in Sag Harbor will not likely begin until 2018, according to Sag Harbor Deputy Mayor Ken O’Donnell, who in an interview this week said the village would wait for grant funding from Suffolk County and New York State, and for the completion of a county dredging project around the facility before moving forward with its plans.
The design phase for the project continues to move forward, however, and dredging by the county this fall may allow the village to explore offering more slips for luxury yachts looking to dock in Sag Harbor Village during the summer season.
While the village had hoped to move forward with the Long Wharf project this fall, Mr. O’Donnell said many of the county and state grants require that the village also contribute to the project, which is estimated to cost at least $3 million. Any funds the village spends on Long Wharf before grants are awarded would not be considered as contributing to the project.
“It makes more sense for the village to hold off,” Mr. O’Donnell said, noting that waiting for the county to complete its dredging — expected to begin in October or November — prior to the Long Wharf renovation allows the village to contemplate increasing its dock space for large yachts.
According to Liz Sutton, chief of staff in Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming’s office, the county is still awaiting its permit for dredging from the Department of Environmental Conservation. Ms. Sutton said the project was on the county’s priority list and that she expected the permit would be granted, with the dredging scheduled to occur in September or October of this year.
According to Sag Harbor Village Harbormaster Bob Bori, depending on the size of a vessel, the village can accommodate two or three yachts on Long Wharf at any given time. On Monday, Mr. O’Donnell said the village board has discussed adding a fixed dock on the west side of the wharf that would host four additional spaces for yachts to dock, allowing it to accommodate at least five yachts at one time on the east and west sides of the wharf. The end of Long Wharf, Mr. O’Donnell said, would remain open for public access.
The village already provides water to vessels docked on Long Wharf, and plans to bring electricity to boaters with the renovation, and the new fixed dock would also boast those amenities. The overall project would also remediate the pylons and facing of the wharf, and create a safe, lighted walkway for pedestrians around its perimeter — a walkway Mr. O’Donnell said trustees hope will one day connect to a public park next to the Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge. A filtration system is also planned to catch runoff coming off the wharf. Public bathrooms are also being discussed, as is expanding the Harbormaster’s small office on the wharf.
While a small amount of green space is visible at the edges of the roundabout at the end of the wharf in renderings created by landscape architect Edmund Hollander, Mr. O’Donnell said the plan currently for Long Wharf ensures that all 88 existing parking spaces remain in the draft plan crafted by engineer Paul Grosser. A public presentation of the plan for Long Wharf will happen when the board has a better idea of the overall scope and costs of the project, he added.
Mr. O’Donnell said the additional yacht dockage would allow the village to create a new revenue stream, and meet what has become an increasing demand for larger dockage.
“We are turning people away right now,” he said. “The long and short of this is the village can bring in more revenue with these slips, and if we can increase revenue, we can hold the line on taxes. We understand the importance of keeping the end of Long Wharf open — this allows us to increase dock space without hindering the public’s view.”
Mr. Bori agreed.
“It seems as though we get more and more requests, and dockage is limited to just a couple spots,” he said on Tuesday. While this season started out slow — chilly May and June weather keeping some visitors at bay — the village so far in 2017 has collected $119,329 in revenues just from yachts docked on the wharf. In 2016, yachts and transient vessels on the wharf brought in $413,342. Yachts alone added $130,011, $153,618, and $83,958 in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively.