State Approves Dredging Funds for Westbrook

WESTBROOK - In early July the State Bond Commission finally approved $750,000 in state bonding "to provide a grant-in-aid to the Town of Westbrook to finance dredging of its harbor and outer channel." Action on the grant-in-aid was first scheduled for the commission's June meeting, but was delayed until the July meeting after the June meeting was cancelled by Governor Dannel Malloy.

After years of uncertainty in funding and equipment availability, with the new state bond funding, Westbrook now has enough funding to support dredging of the full inner harbor channel to design depth and width. Combining the $685,000 in federal funding from surplus North Cove dredging funds from Old Saybrook with the state's $750,000 grant, the project would have $1.4 million in funding.

The Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) requires that the town, the state, and ACE as the next step execute a memorandum of understanding that sets forth the agreement for the terms of the joint funding of the dredging project.

Town Harbor Commission Chairman John Rie and First Selectman Noel Bishop both said they were very pleased that the state bond funding for Westbrook dredging was approved.

"All permits are in place for the dredging project. The state DEP and the Army Corps have also already approved the Cornfield Shoals site [in Long Island Sound] as the approved dispersal site for the dredge spoils," said Rie. "Now we must get New York State to agree."

Rie said that ACE believes the dredging project probably would not begin until the fall of 2012.

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