Stalled by the construction of the new Lake Champlain Bridge, a Port Henry marina project is gearing up to move forward.
The Adirondack Park Agency approved a series of variances last January, clearing the way for the renovation and expansion of Velez Marina on Lake Champlain. The project, which local officials consider vital to future economic development, was put on hold, however, while the arch for the new bridge was constructed at the site.
With the new bridge complete, the marina project is now scheduled to begin in the spring.
“I’ll be excited to see that project begin and be completed,” Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. “It’s a critical piece of real estate for both the village of Port Henry and the town of Moriah.
“We’re one of the few communities to have two marinas on Lake Champlain,” he added. “That can only be a good thing to attract people to our town.”
Lakefront development is the key to Moriah’s economic future, the supervisor said.
“We all know the lakefront is the key to our future,” Scozzafava said. “We’re excited about this project. That property is a key to the economic future of the community.”
Velez Marine occupies 1,255 feet of Lake Champlain shoreline in Port Henry, just north of the state Department of Environmental Conservation boat launch.
The site is currently in decline, but owner Rick Dolliver has plans to build 30,000 square feet of breakwater to create 94 new boat slips.
The project will add a new two-lane boat launch ramp, boat-hauling and maintenance facilities and a pump-out station.
“This is something the community has been hoping would happen for as long as I can remember,” Scozzafava said. “It’s great news.”
Moriah and Port Henry have two municipal campgrounds on the lake, a state boat launch, a pier and public marinas.
“There aren’t many communities that can boast as many public amenities as Port Henry can,” Scozzafava said.
The supervisor noted the marina project will be completed entirely with private money.
“The beauty is that this is all private money going into this,” he said. “This is an investment from the private sector, which is very refreshing to see for a change.”
The marina was a staging area this past year for Flatiron Construction, which built the new Lake Champlain Bridge. Flatiron used the marina to construct the bridge arch, which was then floated on barges to the bridge site.
The 402-foot arch weighed 1.8 million pounds. Barges took the arch two miles from the marina to the bridge site, where it was lifted into place by cranes. The trip took several hours.