Utica Harbor Cleanup Starts Soon (USA)

The Harbor Point cleanup will soon enter a new phase – the dredging of the Utica Harbor.

And to celebrate the moment – the first time in 30 years that sediment will be taken from the harbor floor – state and local officials and canal enthusiasts are holding a ceremonial re-opening of the refurbished Utica Harbor Lock Thursday, according to a news release from the state Canal Corporation.

“This is just one more piece of the puzzle that we’re putting together,” Utica Mayor David Roefaro said. “We’ve worked very hard since I’ve been in office to make this harbor a reality and it is becoming a reality.”

Crews have already dredged the harbor lock – a necessary step to allow dredging equipment into the harbor.

The cleanup is expected to take roughly four more years, after which about 10 acres of the Inner Harbor will be given to a development corporation formed by the city. Roefaro has said it was his lobbying of Gov. David Paterson that led to that transfer.

The waterway connects the Mohawk River and state Canal System, and was once the site of the largest energy-producing complex in North America. That legacy, however, left potentially carcinogenic remnants buried beneath the ground and sediment on the harbor floor.

The cleanup has been undertaken by several companies under state consent orders, the largest of which is $100 million cleanup by National Grid. About two-thirds of the cleanup is finished.

The site is the subject of high hopes for local officials – who hope to one day see a mix of commercial and residential development and recreational facilities there. It is identified as such in the city’s recently released draft master plan, which suggests relocating Donovan Field to the site and possibly attracting a minor league baseball team there.

By Dan Miner (uticaod)


Source: uticaod, August 5, 2010;