By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn kayakers who have been waiting patiently for the Parks Department to build an eco-dock at the 69th Street pier in Bay Ridge won’t have to wait much longer.
Construction of the dock is scheduled to begin right after Labor Day, according to Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst), who made the big announcement on Aug. 30. Gentile had pushed through much of the $700,000 in funding for the environmental project. Borough President Marty Markowitz also contributed to the construction by setting aside a portion of his discretionary funds toward the project.
The eco-dock will “float in” on Tuesday, Sept. 3 and construction is expected to be completed by the end of September, Gentile said. The councilman is planning a celebration to welcome the dock to the shores of Bay Ridge.
It will be the first community eco-dock at any pier in New York City.
The Bay Ridge eco-dock project was first announced with much fanfare in early 2012. But the construction faced numerous delays and two summers went by with no eco-dock at the 69th Street pier.
The dock is a floating dock, containing two platforms and a ramp. The dock will be tethered to the pier, but will also move with the tide. One platform will be used to provide a docking area for boats, while the other will be used as a kayak launch.
The dock will provide a gateway for kayakers to pursue their sporting, Gentile said. In addition, the floating dock will also serve as a launching pad for studies of marine life by school children, proponents said. Arrangements are also being made to have models of historic vessels stop at the dock to welcome visitors aboard.
“Bay Ridge’s Eco Dock is on its way! Thanks to this dock, Bay Ridge is going to be able to enjoy its waterfront again,” Gentile said.
“Working with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, I’m proud to get south Brooklynites back on the water – through kayaking, pleasure boating, and the historical vessels that will be able to stop in Bay Ridge. The Eco Dock will enhance the community’s relationship with the water and the ways in which we can use it. The possibilities are endless,” Gentile said.
“Soon we’ll be hearing the shouts of ‘Ahoy Bay Ridge, permission to come aboard?’ from kayakers, boaters, and water lovers alike when the new 69th Street Pier eco-dock is complete,” Markowitz said.
“Children will be able to experience the joys of the water, kayakers can paddle to their hearts content, and businesses can welcome pleasure cruisers, tourists, and more. When it comes to Brooklyn’s waterfront, we’re ‘all aboard,’” Markowitz said.
Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10 in Bay Ridge, said the board strongly supports the eco-dock. ‘We are excited about the eco-dock. It will provide excellent recreational opportunities for our community,” she told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Friday.
“The dock works for all kinds of boats and ships and will become an indispensable recreational resource for Bay Ridge and beyond,” said Roland Lewis President and CEO of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, an umbrella group composed of 100 organizations in the five boroughs that advocate for recreational and educational activities on the city’s waterfront areas.
The alliance worked with Gentile, Markowitz and Parks Department officials on the project.