WASHINGTON - The plans for the proposed Lake Waramaug boat launch moved a step further November 8 when the town unveiled plans for the project at a site walk.The total cost of the proposed project, to be completed in three phases, is $600,000.
The project now moves to a public hearing; the first scheduled before the Inland Wetlands Commission at 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 29, in Town Hall.
First Selectman Richard Sears told the Board of Finance at a July meeting that he expects Phase I of the project to move through the land use boards by this winter, with construction beginning next summer.
The two-acre piece of town-owned property on Route 45 will include nine diagonal parking spaces which have been approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The first phase of the project will include reconstruction of the ramp and demolition of the existing boathouse.
The town must meet a DEP requirement to provide public access to Lake Waramaug, which the submerged boat ramp provides. The property will also be leveled and graded to allow for a U-shaped driveway and the parking spaces.
The DEP will provide a $100,000 grant toward the reconstruction of the ramp area. Costs for this first phase include reconstruction of the ramp and demolition of the boathouse, which currently are estimated at $200,000.
"The urgency of implementing the Lake Waramaug Agreement is driving Phase I, which we hope to accomplish with construction completed by next summer," said Mr. Sears.
Additional costs on the project include $30,000 approved in fiscal year 2005 for engineering, which should be reimbursed by a grant. Another $100,000 will be included in long-term planning for consideration in next year's budget.
Phase II of the project includes construction of a new boathouse. Mr. Sears said that the boathouse is used for Lake Waramaug boat and equipment storage, and the basement is used by taxpayers for things such as kayaks, for a fee.
The boathouse also houses the pump that runs the lake's water purification system.
Mr. Sears told the Board of Selectmen at its November 2 meeting that the estimated cost for this phase is $200,000.
A committee is beginning the design and siting process right now on Phase II, said Mr. Sears.
"We hope to have approvals and funding in place by June, and hopefully construction before the snow flies in 2007," he added.
The third phase, also estimated at $200,000, would renovate the existing beach house already on the property.
The beach house includes the caretaker's cottage, beach offices and bathrooms, and this phase will be a year or more in the future, explained Mr. Sears.
One concern that has been expressed is preventing contamination of the lake. The new plan includes hiring an attendant so that all boats may be checked for invasive weeds and mussels.
Plans for the project have been presented to the Inland Wetlands and Conservation commissions. Mr. Sears noted that only Phase I is before the Inland Wetlands Commission now; other phases will follow.
The town will seek public input at the November 29 public hearing.