Town looks for dinghy dock space

Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:15am

Determined not to have a repeat of last summer, the Harbors Committee is doubling down on its plans for a new dinghy dock to serve boaters in the Great Salt Pond. 

At their meeting on Dec. 21, members of the Committee pored over a draft letter requesting funds from the town for the acquisition of a dinghy dock. Member Carl Kaufmann thought the language should be clarified and state that the dinghy dock would be in New Harbor and that it would be for transient boaters, not for “residents to park dinghies there all summer.” 

The Committee has received a quote for an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant dinghy dock of $67,850.  Member Charles Gustafson noted that a quote was necessary in order to apply for grants, even though the project would need to go out to bid. 

Kaufmann noted that the quote did not include anchors for the docking system, and that there would be some site preparation necessary. As a result, the Committee decided to request “up to $100,000” from the town.

Realizing that the project will eventually have to go out to bid, the Committee decided to solicit more quotes from dockmakers “from Maine to Florida” as member Pat Evans put it.

Kaufmann said he liked the idea of the dock being ADA-compliant, but that there “might be some pushback about the aesthetics of a non-wooden dock.”

Where to put the dock has not yet been resolved. The Committee has a couple of ideas, but was unsure, in the absence of their clerk and of Harbormaster Steve Land, who had to leave the meeting early, whether property owners where a dock might be located had been contacted.

One of those locations would most likely require a right-of-way being granted to the town. 

“What we would be asking for is to cross their land,” said Kaufmann. 

“When the new town manager comes, ask to have it researched and looked at by the town attorney,” said Arlene Tunney, who was chairing the meeting in the absence of Denny Heinz.

As for those non-transient boaters, the Committee decided to table the subject for now. At their last meeting, they had received a letter from a seasonal resident who was concerned that there was no place to leave their dinghy for the summer so that they could have access to their boat on a mooring. 

Kaufmann noted that the Boat Basin had a private dinghy dock. Another option was that the family could join the Block Island Club and leave their dinghy there.

Gustafson said: “Let’s not worry about it until we have a transient dock.” 

With that the subject was tabled for the time being.