The Town of Islip is set to receive $2.4 million in federal funding to make improvements to Maple Avenue Dock in Bay Shore.

Officials plan to use the money to replace the deteriorating bulkhead and restore more than 100 parking spaces at the dock, which serves as the primary hub for passengers and freight for the Islip part of Fire Island, Islip Supervisor Phil Nolan said.

"This improvement to our infrastructure is very much needed and appreciated," he said. "This particular dock is a major freight operation to Fire Island. It is a tremendous economic engine for Islip Town, Suffolk and Long Island."

Nolan said the town applied for the federal dollars, which came from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Ferry Boat Discretionary Program, and received support from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills).

"This is very good news because it will not only repair this bulkhead, it will create local jobs, which we need," Schumer said. "It means continued economic development."

Maple Avenue Dock, with more than 1 million people and 5,000 tons of freight passing through it annually, is the central hub for passengers and freight, as well as mail and trash removal for Fire Island, officials said.

As part of the plan, Maple Avenue Dock's existing timber bulkhead will be replaced with new steel sheeting and timber piles, officials said. Sink holes will also be filled and current parking prohibitions connected to the deteriorated bulkhead will be lifted. The work would create more than 100 parking spaces in a lot often filled with cars, Nolan said.

"These kinds of projects, while they may not seem to directly affect everyone, ultimately do," Nolan said. "People have jobs on those ferries. This definitely provides an economic stimulus to our town."

Meanwhile, at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Islip town board approved a resolution to allow Bay Shore-based Fire Island Ferries access to docking facilities at Atlantique Beach to provide freight ferry services.

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