New London docking facility to boost area tourism

New London — State and local officials celebrated completion of a more than $2 million project at Thamesport Marina on Friday that was built with $1.4 million in federal grant money.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy joined U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, Mayor Michael Passero, marina owner Ari Yasgur and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Robert Klee for a ribbon cutting for a floating concrete breakwater dock.

The project provides transient dockage for up to 54 larger recreational vessels and was funded through the Federal Boating Infrastructure Grant Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The grant is funded through a federal excise tax on fishing equipment, trolling motors and import duties on boats and motorboat fuels and intended to encourage people to enjoy boating on the state’s waterways while stimulating tourism and economic development.

“Facilities for larger boats are critical for tourism and economic growth in Connecticut, and we hope that in-state and out-of-state boaters alike take the opportunity to visit New London and enjoy the boating destinations we have around the Thames River in New London and Groton, as well as all along our other shoreline communities,” Malloy said in a statement. “This project highlights what is possible when state and federal partners come together for the economic good of our local communities.”

Blumenthal called recreational boating “an economic anchor of our maritime economy.”

Courtney said it provides another amenity for visitors to come and enjoy the sights along the Thames River.

The completion of the project comes on the heels of Bond Commission approval Friday of a $15 million investment for State Pier.

“I care deeply about New London,” Malloy said. “I think for a long period of time, the state was not a particularly good partner to New London and that’s something we’ve tried to change through the years, quite frankly to this whole portion of the state."

The new transient docking facility features a large 12-foot-wide concrete floating dock with an integrated wave attenuator, making it a very stable platform for large transient recreational vessels to visit and enjoy the mouth of the Thames River for up to 15 days and nights per stay.

The facility has the capacity to host vessels exceeding 100 feet or more in length. The marina also offers gas and diesel, on-site pump-out facilities, an indoor/outdoor restaurant with water views, restrooms, showers and laundry. There are also three other restaurants located within walking distance of the docks.

g.smith@theday.com

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