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Watch Hill marina on Fire Island to close through summer 2017

Watch Hill marina on Fire Island was damaged

Watch Hill marina on Fire Island was damaged in superstorm Sandy in 2012. Photo Credit: National Park Service

Watch Hill marina on Fire Island will shut down next month and remain closed through the summer of 2017 for a multimillion-dollar renovation.

The project to repair the storm-damaged marina inside the Fire Island National Seashore calls for a new bulkhead, a boardwalk and electrical, lighting and water systems.

Woodstock Construction Group Ltd., based in Bayville, which won the $5.4 million contract, will begin work Sept. 12, said K. Christopher Soller, superintendent of the Fire Island National Seashore.

“We are working to ensure that this marina is sustainable for years to come,” he said in a news release Monday.

When superstorm Sandy swept across Fire Island in October 2012, it flooded the electrical system under the boardwalk, park officials had said. It was the latest blow to a system that had been battered by other storms, including Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

The project calls for new electrical distribution systems, an elevated electrical building and a new conduit, conductors and pedestals, according to the news release. However, the contract that went out for bids estimated it could cost up to $10 million.

Watch Hill, directly across the Great South Bay from Patchogue, is a destination marina, one of two under control of the Fire Island National Seashore.

Several recreational boaters in June said they were delighted that the aging marina, opened in 1967, was getting a makeover, but criticized park officials for not changing the dock’s layout to create additional wider slips for larger vessels.

Park officials had said they left the design of the 182-slip marina as it was laid out in the mid-1960s, explaining federal funds only allow the park to replace the infrastructure, not put in something different.

The visitor center, bathrooms, beach and tent campground will be closed on Sept. 19 for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Depending on the progress of the project, limited services may be available. Updates will be posted at https://www.nps.gov/fiis/planyourvisit/watchhill.htm.

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