Work on a bulkhead rehabilitation project at the Bay Shore Marina is in its final stage after more than a dozen years and millions of dollars spent — just in time for this summer’s boating season.
Islip Town officials said they expect to replace 550 feet of bulkhead while elevating it by 2 feet, for flooding protection, by Memorial Day. The new bulkheads replace some of the marina’s deteriorating wooden infrastructure dating back decades, officials said.
The project began in 2006, but other town projects, budgetary constraints and two major storms delayed funding for the final phase of bulkhead replacements, officials said.
“We had so much of it completed to let it go,” Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said. “Any town this size, there is always something to be done. This is such valuable real estate, and we never really took it to the next level.”
Bay Shore is the largest and busiest of the town’s 13 marinas, Carpenter said. Upgrades at the marina began in 2006. The town board in 2017 approved $4.25 million in bonding to replace about 1,050 feet in wooden bulkheading. The last portion of the project, replacing and elevating an additional 500 feet of bulkhead, is expected to begin in November and be completed by next spring, officials said.
Raising the height of bulkheads to stave off storm damage will also include dredging to remove backfill that has been falling into the marina from behind the weakened bulkheads.
Most of the work at the marina was done between 2006 to 2010. Officials had planned to begin the final phase of bulkhead replacement by 2012, but Hurricane Irene and superstorm Sandy forced the town to spend money at other marinas, officials said.
The total cost of all the upgrades is about $8.8 million, most of it funded through bonds. Islip in 2008 received a $1.5 million state grant for repairs. The final phase will also include repairs along Bayport-Hollman’s Creek and a redesign of the western portion of the marina to better accommodate boaters.
Other work over the decade at the marina include repairing another 1,100 feet of bulkhead at Benjamin Beach and upgrades near the Owen Johnson area of the marina and by Nicky’s on the Bay restaurant.
Thomas Owens, commissioner of the town’s Department of Public Works, called the marina a “gem.” He said there will also be improved sidewalks and new lighting.
“We are really going to improve the aesthetics of the marina," Owens said.
Islip Councilman John C. Cochrane, a retired Navy captain and Bay Shore resident, said finishing the long-awaited project is exciting.
It is "comforting" to go the marina to watch boats and seagulls, Cochrane said, adding, he's there weekly.
“It is so important we complete this for the safety of our citizens and preserving a natural asset for all Long Island residents," he said. "I feel great there is a finish line."
Repairs at the Bay Shore Marina began in 2006. The project is now in phase 4, the final stage. Here is the cost of each phase:
- Phase 1: $1.31 million
- Phase 2: $1.89 million
- Phase 3: $1.38 million
- Phase 4: $4.25 million