The Milton Landing South Pier Repair project broke ground last Wednesday with town officials, members of the construction team and the public present to cheer it on.
Supervisor Al Lanzetta said when he was first elected in 2006, he secured 15 acres of land that was partly at the river’s edge as well as on a bluff high above, off Sands Avenue. He worked with the Trust for Public Land organization, who would oversee all of the environmental issues and help apply for two grants.
Lanzetta said in late 2009 he signed the deed over to the town, “to have its first public access to the river. We’re a town by the river but we never had public access.”
Lanzetta said the price of the land was $1 million, with Scenic Hudson and the New York Parks and Recreation each contributing half of the total, “and therefore we bought this beautiful property.”
Lanzetta said Councilman Alan Koenig, Gael Appler Jr and members of the Milton Fire Department over two weekends cleared the land by the river and later rehabilitated the northern pier.
Lanzetta acknowledged Rosemary Wein; “I always call the angel of Milton, and she was able to secure a $40,000 estuary fund grant through Fran Dunwell, of the Department of Environmental Conservation, to pay for all of the permits that were needed to build this second pier.”
Lanzetta thanked his Town Board for supporting this project over the last five years; Councilmen Ed Molinelli, Scott Corcoran, Alan Koenig and Howard Baker. “My hats off to you guys for doing just a great job.” In addition, he thanked Police Chief Gerald Cocozza for his support.
Brandee Nelson is a Senior Project Manager with Tighe & Bond.
“We are the engineers that have been lucky enough to work with this wonderful group here in the Town of Marlborough to rebuild the south pier,” she said. “It takes so many partners to make a project like this happen, the vision of the community and a mountain of volunteers and the support of the town, along with the support of Empire State Development, Scenic Hudson, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers.”
Nelson added that her company is, “pleased today that all of the pieces have finally come together and we are very excited to work with Al [Lanzetta] and the board; they’ve been fantastic and we look forward to the ribbon cutting here at the pier.”
Mitch Tanzell is the Project Manager for the Arben Group construction firm. “We are excited to be here and to get started to help you guys get a functional waterfront,” he said.
Lanzetta acknowledged John Behan, of Behan Planning & Design, for developing a rendering that helped bring attention to what the waterfront could become. He also thanked Scott Keller of the Greenway, calling him “a good ally” in securing grants and Ulster County Legislator Tom Corcoran for his support.
Vincent Cannizzaro, of the Arben Group, said it is difficult to predict when the project will be completed because they cannot disturb the spawning periods of certain fish species.
“We can’t start disturbing the bottom until July 1st and then you can’t start driving pylons until September 1st, and then the winter’s going to hit,” he said, adding that in the three month interim they will be determining what supplies are needed and ordering the materials for the project.
Councilman Ed Molinelli was on the Town Board when the idea to repair the southern pier was first broached. Once it is finished he hopes it will promote, “a lot of agri-tourism and people coming up to our wineries. We have 6 or 7 wineries and pick your owns and all of those things.” He said the town will have to work on providing transportation for visitors arriving by boat.
Howard Baker said he, “jumped in” to support the project when he became a councilman by assisting in the grant process. He said having visitors come to the town’s wineries and orchards, “is kind of the whole idea.” He said the entire waterfront could become a gateway to Marlborough; “that’s what we’re hoping for.”
B J. Mikkelsen, of the agri-tourism group Meet Me in Marlborough, said having a second operational pier will be an economic boon to the town. He is in the travel business and expects the Milton waterfront will encourage people to travel domestically from the greater metropolitan area, “no question; international will take years.”
Mikkelsen has been talking to two local cruise companies, “who are looking at this as a positive thing. We have to persuade them to stop at the pier and this is what I’m working on right now.” He estimates that company boats can handle up to 86 passengers per trip.
At the groundbreaking, Lanzetta was in a buoyant mood, saying, “pinch me, is this really happening? The process couldn’t happen without all the right players; Rosemary and Jerry Wein and Howard Baker writing the grants for the Consolidated Funding Application with the help of John Behan.”
Lanzetta said attorney George Rusk Sr. lending his legal expertise was a plus because the Town Board trusted him.
“Me and George had many meetings about the purchase of this property and especially dealing with Scenic Hudson and what they wanted out of it,” Lanzetta said. “Working with George was a pleasure.”
Besides the nearly $1 million for the purchase, which was done through grants, Lanzetta found $50,000 that “was left on the table” when he was re-elected in 2016 and used it to have a master plan drawn up for the entire park area. He also noted that $313,000 was secured through a Consolidated Funding Application grant and the Town Board voted to secure a low interest bond for $1.2 million that enabled the construction project to begin.