Councilmember Mariann Dalimonte and the Town of North Hempstead detail their plans for the Town Dock
On Tuesday, June 7, Councilmember Mariann Dalimonte and the Town of North Hempstead’s Department of Public Works hosted residents at the Port Washington Public Library to present Town Dock renovations. The Nelson and Pope Engineering Firm is working with Councilmember Dalimonte and the town to create plans and designs for the Town Dock upgrades.
The Town Dock, located on Main Street overlooking Manhasset Bay, has been a remarkable community asset for decades in Port Washington. The dock has withstood rough storms on the North Shore, but the dock has suffered some significant damage over the years and requires repairs. While these repairs will come at a substantial cost, they are necessary to maintain the dock that is used and loved by the community.
“Fortunately, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has agreed to provide funds for an in-kind replacement of the Town dock at an estimated cost of 12.5 million dollars,” said Dalimonte. “An in-kind replacement means that the town dock will be repaired in such a way that is essentially a replacement of what already exists there but at no cost to the Town of North Hempstead taxpayers.”
“This project has been in the queue for a while, and in the capital plan, we were able to initiate the project about 24 months ago,” said the commissioner of North Hempstead’s Department of Public Works, Victor Thomas. “It’s been a long time primarily because you’re designing something and bouncing it off the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and other agencies for approvals. We have made suggestions and requests to the DEC, and they have given their firm guidance on how to proceed.”
Working on the waterfront requires patience and professionalism. The state and other entities set forth many regulations and rules to ensure the waterfront structure will be up to the current code and as environmentally conscious as possible.
The department head for the Transportation/ Municipal Site Department at Nelson and Pope Engineering Firm, Russell Scott, gave a run down on the structural, cosmetic and landscape renovations planned for the Town Dock.
“The layout of where the existing bulkhead is, is going back in the same placement… we’re not changing the shape,” said Scott. “That bulkhead will be a new epoxy-coated steel bulkhead that should have a very long life span and withstand the storms. Along with the bulkhead, we are replacing all the floating docks.”
“We are incorporating green structures,” explained Scott. “We will be moving some underground stormwater retention systems to work more efficiently. The first batch of rain will infiltrate into the ground, and when you have the more severe rain events and overflows, that will then go out into the harbor.”
Rain gardens will be planted on the perimeter of the parking area facing the water. Runoff water from the parking lot will go directly into the rain garden, where native species will be planted for a beautiful perennial flower garden to bring some color to the dock.
“A recent add-on to the project is a storm vent at the southern end of the dock,” said Scott. “The area has deteriorated, so we are looking to upgrade it because if we’re fixing the dock, we should fix something immediately adjacent to it.”
The engineers at Nelson and Pope recognize there are multiple plaques, memorials and educational signage that will be taken down. They will be stored somewhere safe to then incorporated into the design when the dock is nearly finished.
Safety improvements to the dock will include inclined ramps, handicap parking spots and raised crosswalks in the parking lot. The raised crosswalks serve two purposes: to allow people who park in the lot to safely get to the dock, and to slow cars speeding through the parking lot.
The lot now has approximately 180 spots, but the Nelson and Pope engineers have found a way to add in 11 more spots. In addition to extra spots, there will be six electric vehicle charging parking spots. Other amenities include phone charging stations, benches, a gazebo, water drinking fountains and bicycle racks.
Now that the project has received its permits from the DEC, the next step is for FEMA to review the plans and provide construction estimates. FEMA does a very close analysis of the plans to ensure they are up to code and determine what aspects of the project their grant will cover.
The Town of North Hempstead will fund what the grant will not cover. The amount the town will provide is not determined yet, as the FEMA analysis hasn’t been completed. But Thomas told the group that the amount is fluid, depending on the use of the grant money.
Councilmember Dalimonte has stressed the importance of the Town Dock to the residents, and that it will be tricky to have it shut down for this lenghty project. Dalimonte has requested that parts of the dock remain open during construction to allow residents to have some access to the dock.
“The geometry of the dock allows for the project to be done in phases,” explained Scott. “So once construction begins on one section, it will be closed off, but another section will be open to have safe access to parking and the dock.”
After the presentation, residents were allowed to view the plans closely and ask the engineers, the commissioner of Public Works and Councilmember Dalimonte questions about the renovations.
One resident brought up the sheet piles previously used for the dock. Sheet pilings are sections of steel with interlocking edges that are driven into the ground to provide earth retention and support. The resident pointed out how the previous sheet pilings were too short and therefore severely deteriorated from storms and weathering over the years.
The previous sheet piles were estimated to be 17 to 22 feet deep in the ground. But the new sheet pilings will be coming down 40 feet, which is a substantial difference and will significantly improve the longevity and structure of the dock.
The project is expected to begin this fall and is estimated to be a 12-month-long process. Councilmember Dalimonte encourages residents to sign up for her newsletter to receive updates on this project and other town events. Visit northhempsteadny.gov/district6 to sign up for the newsletter.