Long Wharf Renovation Plans Coming into Focus

A rendering of proposed plans to improve Long Wharf. Courtesy of Edmund Hollander Landscape Architects

Time is of the essence if Sag Harbor Village wants to move forward with the renovation of Long Wharf this year.

That was the message from engineers Paul Boyce and Jenny Lund of P.W. Grosser Consulting, the Bohemia engineering firm working on design specifications for the project. They told the village board of trustees on Friday that their firm needed the board’s directions so it could draw up final plans by late June. That would allow those plans to be submitted to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of State so they can be reviewed in a timely manner and bids awarded and work started in early October when the boating season is winding down.

The village announced late last year that it would undertake a major renovation of the public wharf that is expected to cost an estimated $3.8 million. The village has already received a $550,000 state grant for the project and is applying for an additional $1.8 million in grant funding.

The board held out the possibility it would divide the project into phases when Trustee Robby Stein, who oversees village grant applications, said state grant rules could disqualify the village from obtaining more money for the project if the work had already begun. Board members said they could begin by replacing the bulkhead this year, and separate other work into a new project. In that case, the village could seek another $1 million in state funding in the next round of grants, which won’t be awarded until late in the year. The village has already applied for $823,187 in county grants and a $9,600 state grant for a historic survey.

Besides replacing deteriorating steel bulkheading, the village plans to repave the wharf and make it more pedestrian-friendly. As part of that effort, it plans to provide a walkway around the dock and create a deck with benches and planters at the north end of the structure, where pedestrians could sit and enjoy the view. The deck would require the elimination of four parking spaces out of the 98 on the wharf now.

Ms. Lund said the firm needed “a final direction in terms of the overall vision and the materials” being proposed for the wharf, so it could draft final plans and submit them for permits. That process could take two months, she said. Once permits are in place, the village can go out to bid, which could take another month to six weeks.

Although they did not come to a final decision, board members said they would prefer if the decking at the end of the wharf be made out of wood, not manmade materials. The landscape architect Edmund Hollander, who has volunteered his services for the project, suggested the village might want to use ipe, a high quality tropical wood, which he said was used in the design of the South Street Seaport in Manhattan.

The wood’s chief advantage is its durability. “Ipe will outlast everyone in this room and our children,” Mr. Hollander, adding that it doesn’t burn or rot. The drawback is that it is much more expensive than other materials, Ms. Lund estimating it could cost 33 to 50 percent more.

Mr. Hollander said black locust, which grows locally, is another option, but Ms. Lund said because the wood rarely grows straight, it is difficult to find a sufficient supply of it in decent lengths.

All parties generally agreed that they did not want to use composite materials, which Mayor Sandra Schroeder said get slippery when wet and hold onto heat when exposed to the sun.

The board also discussed how it would provide for the dockage of large yachts, with Ms. Lund suggesting it would likely have to install “dolphins,” groupings of tall pilings instead of having the boats tie up to cleats on the dock.

Noting that larger vessels typically require large electric services, Ms. Lund asked the board for direction on whether it plans to install the equipment now or do it later. The board agreed that it would likely install electric conduits and water pipes, so the services could be installed as a second phase of the work.