Montville town council approves new fishing pier
Montville ― The Town Council voted unanimously Thursday to approve a proposed boat launch and fishing pier project on town-owned property at 55 Dock Road along with the necessary funding.
The council approved $748,000 from the town’s General Surplus Account for the project, covering the $746,000 that the town is estimated to pay.
Next, the project will go back to the Planning and Zoning Commission for site plan approval before it continues any further.
Councilors Billy Caron and Colleen Rix were absent from Thursday’s meeting.
The Planning and Zoning Commission gave a favorable review of the project at a meeting last Tuesday and the finance committee approved it last Friday.
“It’s a very highly used area and great asset to the town,” Mayor Ron McDaniel added.
Councilor Tim May told the council and the public that the boat launch is important for fire and police services as well as the Water Pollution Control Authority.
The two-phase project is estimated to cost $525,000 for the boat launch renovations, for which the town will be entirely responsible. McDaniel said at the meeting that the town will “try to chase” a Build Back Better grant to offset the cost of the boat launch renovations.
The fishing pier and associated site improvements ― such as the parking lot, trash cans, lighting fixtures ― is estimated to cost $885,000. The grant funding would cover 75% of Phase 2, leaving the town responsible for the remaining 25%, or an estimated $221,250.
If the funding had not been approved by the council, the town would’ve needed to pay $745,000 on its own to only repair the boat launch.
The project consists of a 40-foot long and 8-foot wide wooden floating dock where the current dock stands. The proposed 136-foot long fishing pier is slated to be built further down the property. At the end of the wooden fishing pier will be two octagonal platforms, 16-feet long on each side, for people to sit and stand while they fish.
The parking lot would be fully paved and include spots for trailers. The site will be ADA accessible as well.
The project was selected by the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to receive pass-through grant funding from the federal government.
The project was initiated in 2020 when Uncasville, LLC gifted the town a 99-year lease for a portion of 55 Dock Road, where the current boat launch exists. The town planner at the time, Marcia Vlaun, had CLA engineers draft plans to improve the existing boat launch and the parking lot, as well as a plan for a new fishing pier.
“This project’s been a part of Marcia Vlaun’s dream and goal for many, many years and I’m very happy on her behalf to be able to be apart of this,” Councilor Lenny Bunnell Sr. said.
Since the boat launch renovations were the priority, the project was split into two phases. Phase 1 was set to be just the boat launch, with an estimated cost of $745,000, which is $220,000 more than the current estimate. Phase 2 was slated to include the fishing pier with a $605,000 estimated price tag.
The planning department reached out to DEEP in the fall of 2021, and DEEP’s boating division contacted the department in Feb. 2022.
The boating division received the cost estimates for the project and forwarded them to Fisheries Biologist II and Federal Aid Coordinator, Tony Petrillo, with the DEEP and the Bureau of Natural Resources.
Petrillo and his colleague, David Molnar, met with Director of Planning Liz Burdick and CLA engineers in April at the site to discuss the details of the project. The town was awarded the grant funding shortly thereafter.