Mys­tic boathouse plans move ahead

Pub­lic fo­rum in De­cem­ber to un­veil some al­ter­na­tive ex­te­rior de­signs

The Day - - REGION - By JOE WOJTAS Day Staff Writer

Ston­ing­ton — Dur­ing a meet­ing of the Mys­tic River Boathouse Park Im­ple­men­ta­tion Com­mit­tee this past week, Chair­man and First Se­lect­man Rob Sim­mons said mem­bers sup­ported the idea of re­nam­ing it Ston­ing­ton Boathouse Park and pro­ceed­ing with ask­ing the Board of Po­lice Com­mis­sion­ers to en­dorse a con­tro­ver­sial plan to place seven par­al­lel park­ing spots along Route 27.

In ad­di­tion, Sim­mons said a pub­lic fo­rum will be held Dec. 1 at Ston­ing­ton High School to un­veil some al­ter­na­tive ex­te­rior de­signs for the boathouse that would be con­structed in the park. Some have crit­i­cized the ini­tial de­sign as too mod­ern and not in keep­ing with the his­toric char­ac­ter of Mys­tic.

But Sim­mons has said the $2.5 mil­lion build­ing, which is be­ing funded by sup­port­ers of the Ston­ing­ton High School crew team, fits the lo­ca­tion set aside in the park for it and meets flood reg­u­la­tions. He added it would not be pos­si­ble to show the le­gal hard­ship needed to ob­tain a vari­ance for a build­ing with a pitched roof.

Sim­mons said the Mys­tic River Har­bor Com­mis­sion also has writ­ten to the im­ple­men­ta­tion com­mit­tee re­quest­ing a pub­lic dinghy dock be in­cluded in the plans for the park. Sim­mons said com­mit­tee mem­bers had mixed re­ac­tions to the re­quest, as a dinghy dock was never en­vi­sioned for the $2.2 mil­lion park, which will be for the use of row­ing shells, ca­noes, kayaks and pad­dle­boards. There are dinghy docks at Mys­tic River Park and Mys­tic Sea­port Mu­seum, among other lo­ca­tions along the river.

As for the park­ing along Route

27, a state road, po­lice com­mis­sion­ers need to sup­port plac­ing spots along the road in or­der for the state Depart­ment of Transportation to ap­prove the plan.

“We be­lieve it will slow down traf­fic in an area where there are pedes­tri­ans,” Sim­mons said.

Po­lice Chief J. Dar­ren Ste­wart has ex­pressed con­cerns about plac­ing the spots along busy Route 27.

The name change is be­ing con­sid­ered be­cause of­fi­cials from the Mys­tic River Park Com­mis­sion are wor­ried that peo­ple will con­fuse the two parks, which are about 1.5 miles apart. Sim­mons said im­ple­men­ta­tion com­mit­tee mem­bers had no ob­jec­tion to re­nam­ing it Ston­ing­ton Boathouse Park and likened it to the plan to re­name Mys­tic Mid­dle School as Ston­ing­ton Mid­dle School when it is con­sol­i­dated with Paw­catuck Mid­dle School next year.

Sim­mons added the town has to in­ves­ti­gate whether chang­ing the name of the park will cause any prob­lems with the le­gal doc­u­ments for the bond­ing and fund­ing for the park.

While the state has promised fund­ing to clean up en­vi­ron­men­tal con­tam­i­na­tion on the park site, Sim­mons said the town is mov­ing to­ward sub­mit­ting a re­quest with the state to re­lease the funds and also to cre­ate a time­line for con­struc­tion.

In ad­di­tion, he said the im­ple­men­ta­tion com­mit­tee has to de­cide how to dis­pose of a home on the prop­erty which is listed in the Rossie Mill His­toric Dis­trict. Sim­mons said it could be trans­ferred to some­one who would re­move it from the site in­stead of be­ing de­mol­ished.

Two years ago, Ston­ing­ton res­i­dents ap­proved $2.2 mil­lion in bond­ing to cre­ate the park with pub­lic ac­cess to the Mys­tic River. A pri­vate group of row­ing sup­port­ers is rais­ing money to con­struct the boathouse, which will be home to the 90-mem­ber Ston­ing­ton High School crew team and the Ston­ing­ton Com­mu­nity Row­ing Cen­ter, which will be open to the pub­lic.

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