OLD SAYBROOK – Area legislators are applauding the State Bond Commission’s approval last Monday (May 11) of $7.5 million for the dredging of the North Cove, Connecticut River in Old Saybrook.
The funding, which comes from the state’s Grants-In-Aid program, will go toward improvements to ports and marinas, including dredging and navigational direction.
“This is a smart investment for our town,” Rep. Devin Carney (R-23) said. “Dredging the North Cove will keep property values up and protect our natural resources. I was pleased to work with local and state officials to secure this grant for Old Saybrook. This is great news.”
“This dredging project will create construction-related jobs while providing a lasting benefit to our region,” Sen. Art Linares, who represents part of Old Saybrook, said. “We are grateful to the governor and the bond commission for moving this project forward.”
“North Cove has been a port of call going back to the town’s early days,” Sen. Paul Formica, who represents part of Old Saybrook, said. “This project is really important. We need to make sure the ecological balance remains and that dredging allows for safe recreational boating.”
“This is a critical project for our town,” said Carl P. Fortuna, Jr., First Selectman of the Town of Old Saybrook. “The dredging last done in 2009 insufficiently opened up North Cove. This project will greatly add to the recreational usage of North Cove, as well as restoring it fully as a harbor of refuge in storms. We are thankful for the support of the Governor and the State Bond Commission.”
The North Cove in Old Saybrook is a part of the southern boundary of the Gateway Conservation Zone. The Gateway Conservation Zone boundary only extends 50 feet inland from the mean high water line. The proposed dredging of the North Cove would alleviate siltation issues due to reduced tidal flushing, which occurs when the openings to the river have been reduced by man-made structures. This also creates a problem for some deeper draft sailing vessels that moor at the North Cove.