Community comes together to revive water taxi idea

The cities of Groton and New London have joined the state, Mystic Seaport and private donors to support a water taxi expected to run between Groton and New London during two weekends in September.

The free taxi is part of a pilot program to link local historic, recreation and cultural sites and is expected to run from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 6-7 and Sept. 13-14. The vessel needs some mechanical work that could cut the deadline close, but it looks as if the boat will be ready, project coordinator Penny Parsekian said Friday. She expects to know more early next week.

The Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments contracted with Cross Sound Ferry to operate the vessel, picking up and dropping off as many as 44 passengers at a time between City Pier, Fort Trumbull in New London and Fort Griswold in Groton.

Groton City put $3,000 toward the effort, the City of New London gave $2,000 and the state provided $2,500, Parsekian said.

Mystic Seaport donated use of the vessel Liberty for the two weekends, and Cross Sound Ferry is providing the operator at cost, or just enough to cover expenses, she said. The project also received support from private donors and the heritage festival.

"All of these players are hugely important to this effort," Parsekian said. "It's wonderful to see the community come together like this."

State Rep. Elissa Wright, D-Groton, said last week she hoped to generate enough interest to support long-term funding to run the water taxi for the next summer season.

The idea of linking sites through the Thames River Heritage Park Water Shuttle Demonstration Project dates back to the 1960s and goes hand in hand with the idea of a Thames River Heritage Park, she said.

d.straszheim@theday.com
Twitter: @DStraszheimWat

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