By Phil Corso
Plans to build an eco-friendly dock at Fort Totten Park will have to wait another year due to a lack of funding in the city’s capital budget, according to the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.
While the MWA continues working to build community eco docks in every borough, appropriate for different vessels, community events and educational opportunities, President and CEO Roland Lewis said the Bayside project will not move forward until at least next year due to budget constraints.
“We think Fort Totten is a great spot for this sort of project and we hope to build it soon,” Lewis said. “I think Queens definitely deserves it.”
Lewis said the MWA was working to finalize an eco dock in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, which should be finished by the fall, and a Manhattan project at the Dyckman Marina, which should be complete in about a year.
Another project is also being scouted at Barretto Point Park in the Bronx.
“As for Queens, everyone has been quite encouraging about that site,” Lewis said.
Eco docks are wooden barges that rise and fall with the tides and can accommodate different kinds of vessels, Lewis said. The multi-purpose docks, which cost around $700,000, will also have a human-powered boating platform so kayakers and rowers can visit, Lewis said.
What makes them eco-friendly, Lewis said, is the small footprint left behind in the water.
The MWA has been working closely with Borough President Helen Marshall and City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone), whose district includes where the dock is being proposed. Lewis said the group has held extensive talks with several borough lawmakers as well as the city Parks Department and received support across the board.
“Unfortunately, the cards just did not align in Queens this budget cycle,” Lews said. “But I am hopeful the same crew will get it over the finish line next year.”
The work comes via the MWA’s Open Waters Initiative, which aims to transform the shorelines of New York and New Jersey into more accessible hubs from both land and water. According to the MWA, the group has started building, siting and programming community eco docks while also creating a new database of historic, educational and commercial vessels that use the waters.
“With the new community eco docks and vessel database, the Alliance’s Open Waters Initiative is going to transform waterfront neighborhoods that for years have not had access to the water,” said John Watts, chairman of the MWA. “We at the MWA are proud to be unlocking the potential of this great harbor.”
The MWA database should be available by the fall. Anyone interested in adding their vessel to the list may e-mail [email protected] so all vessels may be matched with dock sites.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.