Marina set to start dredging project

Warwick Beacon ·

Everything looks to be in place for the new owners of Norton’s Marina to start dredging a channel for a travel lift.

According to K. Joseph Shekarchi, attorney for Prime Marina East Greenwich, the Florida-based company has already gained state and federal approvals for the dredging. The City Council was expected to give the final green light for the operation Wednesday night.

A crane with scoop was on site Sunday and a walled area has been created in the marina parking lot to contain the dredge spoils while they are dewatered. The “clean” material will then be used “as beneficial fill within the existing parking area to raise the grade, thereby minimizing impacts of sea level rise on the marina operations,” according to a description of the project provided by City Planning Director William DePasquale.

With city approval, Shekarchi said the work would start immediately so as to comply with the “narrow window” during which the state sanctions dredging. He said the work, which involves the removal of 1,077 cubic yards of material, must be completed by the end on the month.

Prime Marina Group isn’t wasting time to improve its latest acquisition.

In an interview in October shortly after Prime Marina bought Norton’s for about $4 million, Brian Ferrara, director of marina operations, said the company was looking to replace many of the docks without altering the existing layout in time for the 2017 boating season. The long-range plan includes replacement of the northerly dock with a “heavy-duty” dock that would serve as a wave attenuator, thereby offering additional protection to the marina from northeasterly storms. That dock would be capable of accommodating vessels up to 300 feet long.

According to the information provided the City Council, during periods of low tide shoaling has caused boats to scrape along the seabed.

Shekarchi considers the dredging to be nothing more than removing material that has eroded into Greenwich Cove and restoring the marina’s original depth. In addition to 186 slips, 100 moorings and winter storage for 170 boats, the marina has a store, launch and haul service as well as a dockside restaurant/pub.

In his overview of the project to the council, DePasquale said the plan designed to improve facility operations by “accommodating a travel lift which we find to be a customary marina function consistent with its land use and water use category and marina operations.”

Prime Marina Group is an owner and operator of mixed-use, destination marina properties on the Vineyard and Coconut Grove, Florida. With the Rhode Island marina, which is in Warwick despite its East Greenwich name, the company has the capacity for docking and storage of about 700 boats, Ferrara said in October.