Bay Ridge Community Eco Dock to serve as model for others in the city

July 2, 2013 Heather Chin
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The long-awaited Eco Dock at the 69th Street Pier has a new official open date of Wednesday, September 18, give or take a few days.

The announcement came at the June meeting of Community Board 10, from Jose Soegaard, program manager at the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (MWA), which is working with the city Parks Department to bring the 20-foot by 40-foot Community Eco Dock.

The reason for the slightly flexible open date is to accommodate “elected official’s schedules for the ribbon cutting,” Soegaard explained.

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That aside, however, the plan to bring recreational water sports and educational programs to Bay Ridge remains much the same as it originally did before and shortly after Hurricane Sandy hit.

“The two principal components will be a lower dock for human-powered boating such as kayaks and canoes [which] at first will be limited to people with good experience because the currents are for experienced boaters only,” said Soegaard. “Then there will be a higher platform on the other side for small tour boats and historic and educational ships, which we’ll be using to really get people out on the water.”

The planned-for oyster beds have been postponed to Spring 2014, which is when the seasons will be more accommodating to development and child-friendly educational activities.

The floating dock and its ramp will be able to move with the tides and will be able to withstand winter weather. Although the dock will be open and accessible to the public, it won’t be open all day and night for safety reasons.

The recreational tours and classes will be run with help from existing community and city organizations that have not been selected yet, said Soegaard, who added that the planners “will not be limiting [partnerships] to one group.”

In addition, the dock can accommodate everything from ferry to sailing and human-powered boats, keeping hope alive that ferry service might be possible in the future.

The MWA also gave a “kudos” to Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who was able to secure the lion’s share of funding to make the facility a reality.

“The wheels have been turning slowly, but they are turning [and] we are excited for this first-of-its-kind, incredible opportunity to reconnect the bay to the Ridge and vice versa,” said MWA President Roland Lewis, who noted that the project will hopefully be a model for future Community Eco Docks in Inwood and other neighborhoods.

“The time has come,” said Lewis, “and people are rediscovering the waterfront all over the city.”

For details on the eco dock and ways to become involved, visit http://www.waterfrontalliance.org/bayridge.


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