A long-awaited dredging project is inching closer to become a reality.
The dredging of Hammonds Cove, which has been a top budget priority of Community Board 10, has received an extra $150,000 in the 2016-17 New York State budget, sources said.
This comes on top of the $1 million allocation secured by Senator Jeff Klein in the 2015-16 state budget, said Justin Dambinskas, proprietor of the Hammonds Cove Marina, a NYC Parks Department concession.
Dambinskas said that the project is badly needed because boats entering the narrow channel encounter a shallow draft at low tide.
Hurricane Sandy winds deposited a large amount of silt in the cove.
“The hurricane pushed east to west and the inlet silted up across the throat of the creek,” said Dambinskas, adding “It is getting almost impassible at low tide, especially for big boats.”
This is affecting his business, the Hammonds Cove Marina, as well as the Locust Point Yacht Club, and several private docks along the coastline, said the marina proprietor. All told, about 300 boats are affected, he said.
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation will oversee the project, said Dambinskas.
At present, he is working on preliminary tasks, such as taking soil samples and preparing a topographical survey, he said. However, there are other bureaucratic hurdles to clear.
“It has been a long, drawn out, and pretty disappointing process,” he said.
Senator Klein’s allocations are much appreciated and should go a long way to seeing the project to fruition, he said.
Right now, it is Dambinskas’ hope that the dredging project can get underway when the boating season ends on Monday, October 31.
Another booster of the Hammonds Cove Marina dredging is longtime CB 10 Parks Committee member Pat Devine.
“I think this has to be done, and I think it is good for the community,” said Devine, who added that the activism for the project really intensified when the FDNY stated in writing that it might have difficulties getting fire boats in and out of the cove at low tide, as previously reported in the Bronx Times.
In a statement, Klein stated he was committed to ensuring that a plan is implemented that serves the best needs of the community.
Dambinskas is looking towards the future, and said it is good that the funding is in place.
The docking spots along the cove are some of the last in the community where people can enjoy recreational boating.
The project has been a long-standing budget priority of CB 10, and in a previously published interview in the Bronx Times, CB 10 chairman Martin Prince said dredging the cove’s silt filled bottleneck was a worthwhile investment.