Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Question from a Reader

A reader asked by email:  

Is there any update on the building of the " scaled down" boathouse?  What is the city's definition of scaled down.........20,30,40 million dollars????? What will be the cost of remediation??????? This city cannot afford this luxury!!!!!!   

As a member of the boathouse committee, I'll try to answer.  

The consultant, Tighe & Bond, is evaluating and planning for remediation work in the area of the boathouses and Columbus Point and particularly the bulkhead/sea wall in that area (sorry I don't know the cost of the work - but I think it's partly a question of figuring out how much work can be done for the state funding we already have - I know that's an unsatisfying answer but the remediation project is still being defined/studied).  

After that work is underway, our next step is to start a planning process to design a new boathouse that would serve the growing Middletown High crew team.  This new boathouse would potentially sit to the south of the two existing boathouses (picture something about the size of the Wesleyan Boathouse taking up some of the parking spaces between the boathouses and the restaurant), and then turn the existing Middletown High boathouse into a space for community rowing (and possibly rental to other rowing programs).  The Wesleyan Boathouse would stay where it is.  

After a concept/40% design is done (if we can afford one with the funding we already have), there would be a public referendum on whether to fund this school-system boathouse, plus the cost of any additional remediation and dock work that didn't fit in the first round of work.  

As far as I understand it, that's where we are in the process.  However, all this information can change - and I might have something wrong - or further study might show that the proposed boathouse location is unsuitable for some reason.  Our earlier work on the larger boathouse concept (which has been abandoned) gave us good information about the needs and costs of what a good boathouse for the Middletown High crew team would require, so hopefully that phase of design already has a head start.  There is no projection for the cost of a new boathouse for the Middletown High team, but I think it will be relatively modest - not only because it is much, much smaller, but also because it does not include any kind of event space or for-profit rowing tank facility.  However, one feature of the old plan (using the building to cap contaminated land) was actually a savings, and now we will have to pay for that remediation/restoration (primarily talking about the land on Columbus point right now), so that will be something to factor in (again, hopefully the current round of remediation and existing funding will address much of that, although it is still under study.)  

The boathouse committee meetings are typically the first Wednesday of the month at 5:30 pm at City Hall's Room 208 - but they are often cancelled if we're waiting for more information on some piece of the project - so you should always check with the Town Clerk's office before coming, since changes will be reported to them.  

I'm sorry this isn't a full explanation of the project and won't make much sense if you are new to the project, but the basic answer to your question is that we haven't started on a design of a new boathouse, so there are no cost estimates at this time....and I wanted to try to give a little more detail than that!


Anonymous said...

Shouldn't a boathouse for the high school come out of the school budget? How many citizens would a community boathouse serve? Couple hundred out of 46,000? Less than 1%?

EnzoDast said...

If anyone on the council is reading this please put the boathouse as far down away from harborbpark as possible. The space closest to downtown needs to be used for retail, entertainment, restaurants and shopping. If the city dedicated that prime area to attract a vibrant consumer base all year round then we can truly make something of the waterfront. The boathouse I agree is important and serves a need but there's no reason why it can't be moved further down, if a ramp is needed to get the boats in the water I'd rather see that. And I know I'm not up to speed on the rulings and regulations so if you tell me the boathouse can only go in that prime space near harbor park then I'd rather see it skipped personally in lieu of a vibrant retail/consumer center that will serve thousands and attract thousands of people from out of town create the crew team. I hope it's not one or the other but I think that would make the most sense for that space.

Anonymous said...

How much tax payer money was blown on over a year of meetings with design consultants doing options to realize this Taj Mahal was a pipe dream and the obvious that it would never be feasible?