With a hurricane season that could be here by August or September, the Town Board has told Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr. to push consultants to produce a design plan and estimate of the amount of materials needed to shore up Reel Point.
Because some of the initial work the town and Peconic Land Trust requested last year from First Coastal Corporations and LKB Consulting wasn’t done, the two engineering consultancies received an adjustment in charges they had been assessed for the report that was issued last July.
Accordingly, they had a credit to apply to this next phase.
Reel Point is a natural barrier protecting Coecles Harbor from storm-driven waves making a landfall on Shelter Island. Businesses in the area that could be affected if Reel Point is lost include Coecles Harbor Marina, Clark’s Marina, The Ram’s Head Inn and CH Marine Yacht Builders.
In addition, failure to save the point could destroy private properties on Ram Island and others ringing the harbor, plus the high-end residential development being constructed on the former St. Gabriel’s site.
Mr. Card is working on obtaining large cobble stones for the project. The town may also benefit from getting some “clean debris” from the old Tappan Zee Bridge that could be used later if the town and Peconic Land Trust, which owns Reel Point, can enlist the Army Corps of Engineers to create a breakwater at a distance from the eastern shore of Reel Point.
By shoring up the land first and later engaging the Army Corps to build the breakwater, local officials believe they will have a reasonable solution without spending the amount of money originally estimated for the project.
The Army Corps would be taking on the largest expense if it agreed to build the breakwater at a cost of about $31 million.
But the aim now is to get the mouth of Coecles Harbor around Reel Point dredged and use the spoils from the dredge to help shore up the land mass while creating a webbing with large cobbles that will protect the eastern side.
If that can be done by September, officials hope storms that might hit the area this fall could be managed while waiting word from the Army Corps about whether it will take the larger project.