Welcomed development in State Pier conversion

A month ago, we wrote with concern that deadlines to clear State Pier of its current tenants, and pave the way for reconstruction of the port facility, were being needlessly rushed. It was good to learn, then, that the commercial fishermen and a local road salt distributor will not have until the end of this month to move out, as originally reported, but until the end of July.

Changes are coming to State Pier, and we welcome them. The facility is slated for a $157 million overhaul that will convert it into a turbine staging area for the massive electricity producing wind farms that are planned off the Northeast coast. The investment in the state property is being roughly split between the state and a joint venture of the Danish wind-power giant Ørsted and the regional energy company Eversource.

In the short term it will be disruptive, requiring the relocation of tenants and closing the port to traditional cargo shipping. But it will give birth to a major, environmentally friendly industry for the region and, in the long term, leave the New London port with a more capable, heavy-lift operation.

Gateway, which is contracted by the Connecticut Port Authority to manage the State Pier, will work with the city and the port authority to accommodate the small fishing operation and salt-storage business. About 95,000 tons of road salt sits on the site after the unusually snow-free winter.

The four-month window provides reasonable time to find alternative accommodations, while getting the site cleared so work can begin in earnest at State Pier. Having this major undertaking move forward in a cooperative fashion is in the joint interest of Gateway, the port authority, the state, city and the Ørsted-Eversource partnership.

In that spirit, we also await the announcement that Ørsted-Eversource and the City of New London have reached a final host community agreement, assuring the city reasonable annual compensation for the property that should produce big profits for the investors, but which cannot be taxed by the city because it is owned by the port authority and leased to the joint-venture energy partners.

As noted in a prior editorial, the energy companies and the administration of Mayor Michael Passero have narrowed the sticking points. Time to get those points unstuck and get all parties pulling together to move this worthwhile project forward.

 

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments

TRENDING

PODCASTS