By Kathryn G. Menu
Sag Harbor Village’s plan to implement a remediation plan for the drainage ditch leading to Havens Beach got a shot in the arm on Tuesday morning, with the village board of trustees completing its environmental review of the project, literal decades in the making.
The project, if ultimately approved by the only remaining agency – the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) – will also be the recipient of a matching grant from the Suffolk County Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program (WQPRP), entitling the village to $147,500 provided the village kicks in the same amount.
The board of trustees passed a resolution on Tuesday morning agreeing to do just that, giving the project $295,000 in funding.
The Havens Beach project has been estimated to cost anywhere from $250,000 to $275,000, although Mayor Brian Gilbride said on Tuesday often estimates come in lower then the bids the village will seek when it earns the DEC’s final stamp of approval. If necessary, said Gilbride, the village will reach into a $1.2 million projects fund it has set aside, primarily for the Havens Beach project, as well as the maintenance of Long Wharf.
According to Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, he expects to introduce a resolution next Tuesday at the Suffolk County Legislature to sell Long Wharf — technically a county road — to Sag Harbor Village for $1. For two years now, the county has attempted to do just that, but only with the election of County Executive Steve Bellone seemed to find accord with the transfer. While the transfer of ownership will ensure the village’s control over Long Wharf, it also comes with a hefty maintenance price tag. In 2010 the county’s department of public works estimates the wharf needed some $600,000 in repairs, a figure Gilbride noted has likely grown in the last 24 months.
The Havens Beach project remains a top priority, said Gilbride. The project aims to reduce toxins entering the ditch, and the bathing beach, by dredging the muck filled ditch, filling it with clean sand and native vegetation and installing a mechanical filter unit at the mouth of the ditch where it meets the beach.
Other drainage projects associated with the water shed are also proposed and on Tuesday Gilbride said Sag Harbor, along with most waterfront communities in Suffolk County, are going to have to spend more money on stormwater runoff abatement and drainage projects.