City-owned marina will get makeover with state grant
Lisman Landing Marina will be getting a bit of a makeover thanks to a state grant the aldermen accepted at Monday night’s Board of Aldermen’s meeting.
A state grant of $398,000, plus a matching $75,000 from the city, will pay for decking replacement and some cosmetic upgrades at the city-owned marina.
Lisman Landing, named after former Mayor Fred Lisman who developed the head the Harbor Plan, is a city-owned transient marina built and run by the Harbor Management Commission and the City of MIlford.
It was once a sewer treatment plant, but was converted in the late 1980s. Today there are 38 transient slips, a public park, and a Coast Guard Auxiliary training facility.
The grant will primarily be used to resurface the docks that are now 20 years old, according to Mayor Ben Blake. Sixty-five marina floats, which are like small floating docks, in the mooring field will also be resurfaced, and some electrical upgrades and repairs will be made as the dock work is done, added Operations Director Ray Swift.
Some of the funds are expected to be used to purchase new patio furniture for the marina and to fund some painting in the office building.
Responding to a question from Alderman Bryan Anderson, who described the state funds as “a very significant grant,” Swift explained the economic benefits expected to come from the project.
The city had submitted two projects when it applied for the grant, the marina upgrade and removal of a bridge on Gulf Street. The bridge was not approved because there was no economic impact; the marina was approved because there is economic impact, Swift said.
“Our goal has always been to help downtown,” Swift said. “All our customers come in and spend time downtown, the vast majority of them. [We’re] re-decking a marina which is 22 years old, not that it’s structurally unsound, but aesthetically [lacking] because we’ve had to make repairs. It’s starting to look like the black and white keys of a piano — new wood and old wood.”
The grant application also notes the role of the marina as an economic driver in Milford.
“The development of LIsman Landing was instrumental in the revitalization of downtown Milford,” the late Robert Post, former chairman of the Harbor Commission, noted in a portion of the grant application. “Downtown Milford is now the envy of New England and a model for older New England towns.”
The marina operates as an independent business within the city, without funding from taxpayers. All funding is from fees charged for the use of mooring, docking and the boat ramp.
The Lisman Landing Marina for fiscal year 2016 estimated $300,000 in revenue, and employed one full time and 11 seasonal employees.
“The public marina has maintained a year-long wait list for those who want to use our facilities during holidays and major festivals for over 15 years,” notes the grant application. “As one of the only public marinas in the area, there is not much competition for Milford Harbor.”
Swift said the work will return the marina to pristine condition.
“Opportunities don’t come along often,” he said. “It’s just amazing that it fell into place.”
Responding to a question from Alderman Ray Vitale, Swift said the new deck material will be a Brazilian hardwood called ipe. He said the Milford Yacht Club used the same material to resurface their decks five years ago.
“And you can see what it looks like,” Swift said. “It’s smoother. It’s really sharp looking.”
Community and Economic Developer Julie Nash wrote the grant application with the Harbor Commission. The application notes other improvements that have been made in the area, including the new Founder’s Walk next to the Milford Public Library and dredging of the ponds that flow into Milford Harbor, which is expected to help prevent buildup of material in the harbor.
According to the grant application, the Harbor Commission recently replaced the public patio at Lisman Landing, and just completed a major repair to the harbor mooring system.
The dock repairs and replacement is expected to be done by the start of the next boating season in mid-May.