By Kathryn G. Menu
The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees plans to move forward with small improvements and maintenance to Long Wharf now that the landmark and former county road officially belongs to the village.
This week, citing their belief that a long-term plan should be created surrounding its use and development, the Harbor Committee announced it would keep the wharf on its monthly agenda. Members also encouraged the public to attend monthly meetings to share their ideas about the future of the wharf.
Last month, the Harbor Committee sent a memo to the village board requesting it be allowed to lead public hearings on the future of Long Wharf. Now that the village owns the wharf, the idea, said chairman Bruce Tait, was to create a long-term plan to develop the wharf in a way residents would like to see it utilized.
In the trustees response to that memo, dated February 25, village clerk Beth Kamper said the village is working on a plan for improvements using an engineering report developed by Paul Grosser and the trustees would discuss these ideas in public meetings. Kamper said the board welcomed any suggestions or concerns the committee had in the meantime.
“What I take from this letter is that the trustees are not inclined to have us hold public meetings on the future of Long Wharf,” said Tait at Monday’s committee meeting.
However, Tait did instruct building department secretary Doris Alvarez to place the wharf on the committee’s monthly agenda and encouraged public participation.
“Rather than take this as an adversarial position, we should take this as an opportunity to explore ideas on what the vision of Long Wharf should be and we should try and take that and share those ideas with the trustees,” he continued.
According to a memo prepared by Grosser, necessary and basic improvements to Long Wharf to improve functioning, safety, and to continue to make it viable for the village, have been divided over 10 years based on a $100,000 annual budget for the wharf.
In 2013, the plan suggests asphalt removal, steel sheeting repair, back filling and compaction, installation of water and electric utilities on marine pedestals, lighting, asphalt repair for 391 linear feet of bulkhead and new ladders. Accomplishing that in 2013 will cost an estimated $173,095.
Over a 10-year period of time, according to Grosser’s memo, it will cost $1,517,046 to repair and maintain Long Wharf, including the replacement of its bulkhead, the creation of a concrete sidewalk and the installation of a cable railing along the bulkhead.
“It’s marginally better, but pretty much the way it has been for the last 30 years,” said Tait, adding he believes as one of Sag Harbor’s most important assets, the village should be looking forward at making the wharf better than it is today.
The committee sent the trustees a memo requesting Inter-Science Research Associates preliminary study on how Long Wharf could be improved for the better — a study completed during the administration of former mayor Greg Ferraris.
“I would like to look at those as a starting point for discussions,” said Tait. “I personally have seen the designs and they were very, very good.”
Offering the support of Save Sag Harbor, president Mia Grosjean said the not-for-profit would like to sponsor a forum for the community to discuss the future of Long Wharf, similar to a recent transportation forum held by the organization.
“I think your traffic calming meeting, bringing everyone together to have a discussion is so important for our community,” said Tait, noting the same vision made Marine Park one of the most used, and beloved, areas in the village, should be employed when thinking about the future of Long Wharf.
“It is time to think about this before piecemealing too much money into Long Wharf just to keep it like it is,” he said.
Committee member Jeff Peters asked the board to also ask the trustees why, if the village is going maintain Long Wharf, “it took so long to get the floating docks” on the west side of the wharf out of the water following the season.
Those docks were badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy at the end of October. On Tuesday, the village board awarded a contract to repair those docks to DJ Whelan Corporation of Sag Harbor at a cost of $74,000.
Harbor Master Bob Bori said last year he removed them at the end of the season. This year, said Bori, public works was given the task.
“We have less than a month before the village docking season starts and the village docks, according to the village harbor master, are in disrepair,” said Tait.
Bori noted transient docks can be used instead, particularly early in the season, however, Tait said that should be another topic that remains on the committee’s agenda for the time being.