A state agency, a local elected official and community activists are brainstorming to push for a project that been on the Throggs Neck community’s wish list for years.
Sources have confirmed that representatives from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Senator Jeff Klein’s office, and the community met with the DEC dredging unit recently to discuss possible solutions to having the cove dredged.
Long a top Community Board 10 capital budget request, the need for dredging at Hammond Cove is something understood by those who have boats docked there, and others who see the area as a vital resource for Fire Department rescue boats, sources confirmed.
The dredging requests have languished, mired in a bureaucracy that has, at different times, called on city, state, and federal authorities to take action so boats can enter and exit it at low tide.
In May, the FDNY sent a letter to the Locust Point Yacht Club, where its boats dock during rescue operations, stating that the area around the marina is not sufficient at low or ‘moon’ tides for many fireboats.
“There may be times that our vessels will not be able to enter the cove to operate in this area,” stated the FDNY in the letter from May. “Considering the number and density of structures and vessels in Locust Point, it is recommended that the depth of the water in Hammond Cove be improved to ensure (fire department) access.”
Citing the safety concerns, local activist and LPYC member Pat Devine, who himself had the hull torn out of a boat in Hammond Cove due to the low tide conditions, reached out to Senator Klein’s office.
DEC is not necessarily the agency that will be responsible for the dredging, but was willing to sit down with representatives from the senator’s office and the community to discuss a possible project, according to attendees and a written summary of the meeting.
Also, yet to be determined, is what the cost will be, with estimates ranging widely from $576,000 to $5 million.
“The first step is figuring out what the agency is responsible for, and the second step is figuring out what the potential cost will be,” said Dana Carotenuto, deputy chief of staff for Klein. “However, these conversations have refocused our efforts and are a good step in the right direction in terms of ensuring the safety and the economic viability of the marina and the cove.”
At the end of the meeting, which was hosted by DEC dredging unit leader Katie Axt in Long Island City, Queens, it was decided that two tracks would be followed going forward, according to meeting minutes.
The first is that DEC will continue to work with local community and business leaders to gather more information about the cove.
The second is that both DEC and Klein would “continue to move forward in formulating a mechanism to finance the dredging of Hammond Cove.”
Among possible ways of obtaining funding would be to have a city or state agency take on the project directly, citing wider community need and the fire hazard posed by the undredged cove; explore options in funding the project in the new upcoming state budget due on April 1, 2015; and exploring the option of applying for storm recovery and resiliency money to pay for an initial testing costs of the soil before any dredging can begin.