A preliminary engineering study conducted by the city and the Abonmarche engineering firm aims to answer that question.
“There’s a number of steps involved here, a couple that are currently in progress,” said Mike Morphey, an engineer with Abonmarche.
City Council began moving forward with a study on the marina in late 2016, and the city received a state waterways grant that provided 50 percent funding for the project. In February 2017, a kick-off meeting was held with Abonmarche to determine the next steps for completing the study.
Officials say work that’s been completed thus far includes a visual assessment of the marina in late spring and surveys conducted in the fall.
“We’ve separated things out into three different priorities,” Morphey said of the marina objectives.
Priority 1 items include safety and repair of the marina; priority 2 items include preventative maintenance and replacements; and priority 3 items include aesthetic and other various maintenance issues.
Abonmarche engineers have also laid out a potential third-phase project. This work would remove the stone riprap along the shore in order to move the floating dock system closer to the land. The gangway ramp system connecting the shoreline to the docks would also be revamped to improve handicap accessibility.
Morphey noted that the modifications would also allow the marina to end up with a variety of slip lengths for the floating docks as opposed to the current 30-foot limit.
Other discussed improvements include electrical and utility upgrades along the docks, handicap accessibility improvements to the fish cleaning station, the possible addition of a dinghy dock, and possible mooring improvements along the seawall west of Waterfront Stadium.
A preliminary cost estimate shows that a project could cost as much as $2.5 million, with the potential for grant funding to cover as much as half of the cost, Morphey said.
Engineers also note that the work could be done in stages in order to alleviate the high up-front cost.
“There’s a whole bunch of different ways to cut this up,” Morphey said.
The next steps include completing a market evaluation of area marinas, distributing and conducting a boater survey, completing conceptual improvement plans, and identifying grant funding strategies for various projects. City Council will also look over the study in order to provide feedback at a future work session.