In the complex, multiple-moving-parts effort in the City of Glen Cove to revitalize both the downtown and the waterfront, the just-announced flow of federal dollars to build the ferry terminal is more evidence that the city is getting there.
With a boost from federal stimulus money, Glen Cove has already done a lot of the preliminary work, such as dredging, building bulkheads and laying the foundation. The nearly $876,000 in Federal Highway Administration funds announced last week will help the city build the shell of the terminal, the first floor, rest rooms and other basic elements. In the construction, Glen Cove will make provision for the later addition of a second floor. Construction could start as early as next spring.
It's too soon to say what routes ferries from the terminal will serve. In fact, thanks to the stimulus money, the ferry project at the moment is ahead of the rest of the waterfront. So it will be a while before ferry destinations get sorted out. One obvious use will be for commuters to Manhattan. But Mayor Ralph Suozzi is correct not to put all his hopes on that. Other possibilities include routes to Rye Playland in Westchester County, Citi Field in Queens, and parts of Connecticut. And the terminal won't just be a place to catch a ferry. It will also serve as part of a park connecting the east and west sides of the waterfront.
The ferry terminal is vital, but it's just one element. The city continues to push forward with other aspects of the redevelopment, such as the creation of a real plaza near City Hall. While the developer ran into problems buying several parcels in the middle of the existing square, the project is still simmering on the back burner.
On the waterfront, the major mixed-use development by RXR Glen Isle Partners is moving well. Boring but necessary work continues, such as road design to serve the 860 residential units, a hotel, restaurants, open space and retail. The synergy between that project and the ferry terminal is crucial.
Meanwhile, construction of the ferry building will be a visible sign that the complex job of making Glen Cove a real downtown is inching steadily ahead, step by step.