Glen Cove became a step closer to bringing the revitalization of its waterfront to fruition Tuesday as city officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Glen Cove Ferry Terminal and Boat Basin.
The federally funded project, which will offer commuters roundtrip ferry rides between Glen Cove and New York City, is expected to be completed in 2012. It has been in the works since 2004, just three years after the city suspended its last ferry service due to low ridership.
Just minutes before turning the soil with shovels to kickoff the project's construction, state, Nassau County and city elected officials as well as developers touted it as one that illustrates "smart growth," primarily because it promotes the use of mass transit and it aims to increase pedestrian traffic with the creation of a walkable downtown waterfront.
With roughly $16 million as its cost, the plan is slated to include, among other things, a ferry terminal building, parking facility, restaurant and catering center as well as marine and waterside improvements along Garvies Point Road. The city was able to acquire about $11 million in federal stimulus money and $2.5 million in federal, state and city funds for the project. was selected to construct the terminal in March. A ferry operator, however, has not been chosen yet.
Kelly Morris, the executive director of the city's Community Development Agency, explained that the groundbreaking is a big step in restoring a deteriorating area, especially since 52 acres of the 213-acre property was once a part of the state's highly contaminated industrial areas.
"With the help of federal, state and county agencies ... we have been able to remediate this land and it is now ready for construction," Morris said. "This groundbreaking is a monumental step in our effort to reclaim this waterfront revitalization area."
County Legislator Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove) shared similar sentiments, calling the terminal a catalyst that the city needs to reinvent its waterfront.
"The city has gone through many steps and it's a very slow process, but this groundbreaking is the start of something really spectacular," said Yatauro, the Legislature's Minority Leader.
City officials anticipate that the terminal's construction will generate more than 400 construction jobs, 10 to 15 full- and part-time positions and that it will complete a key part of the city's Master Plan, a document that lists the city's vision for housing, transit and downtown development initiatives.
"The ferry service will bring an economic boost, create jobs and improve transportation options to and from Glen Cove," Mayor Ralph Suozzi said, adding that the city is aiming to extend the ferry's routes to LaGuardia Airport in Queens, Connecticut as well as areas along the Long Island Sound in the near future. "... This ferry terminal is going to bring new life to our waterfront by connecting Glen Cove to other areas ... and it's really about putting a vacant property to productive use."