A team of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District leadership, including Buffalo District Commander Lieutenant Colonel Jason Toth, made a trek out to the Village of Fair Haven to meet with local officials and stakeholders to get a first-hand look at the failing steel sheet-pile on the Fair Haven west pier this past Tuesday.
“This assessment will provide us with some ideas of options on how we can work with the Fair Haven community,” said Lieutenant Colonel Toth. “On-site communication with the people closest to the pier will definitely provide us the insight needed to take the next step.”
The meeting was established to maintain transparent communications. Those in attendance besides multiple Corps of Engineers leadership included James Basile, the Village of Fair Haven Mayor, Walter Krehling, the Village of Fair Haven Deputy Mayor, Jon Stercho from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and Thomas Haag from Congressman John Katko’s office. Discussions included conversation regarding the current damage, what the Village of Fair Haven’s expectations are, and what the Corps of Engineers path forward is currently.
The Corps of Engineers currently has $100,000 and is seeking another $50,000 to put towards design and a temporary repair. This meeting will help establish the scope of temporary repairs and help lay groundwork for a design of a permanent repair.
The Fair Haven pier has been competing against other federal infrastructure needs across the nation. Recreation harbors, like Little Sodus Harbor and its Fair Haven pier, typically do not receive funding for emergency repairs or routine maintenance dredging based on competing needs across the nation.
“Our office has been assessing the pier at Little Sodus Bay,” said Josh Feldmann, Corps of Engineers Operations Branch Chief. “A need for funding has been expressed for the Fair Haven pier in the Operations and Maintenance budget for the last two years."
The current status of the west pier may result in additional funding becoming available in the future.
There is no immediate threat to navigation at this time and we recognize the need at the Fair Haven pier to maintain safe navigation, a top priority for the Corps of Engineers.
"I was excited to be selected as the project manager for the Little Sodus Harbor West Pier project due to my strong connections to the local area. I grew up in nearby Wayne County, visited nearby Great Sodus Bay, Port Bay, and Fair Haven numerous times as a child, and went to college at nearby SUNY Oswego," said Lex Barker, Corps of Engineers Project Manager. "Having a personal connection to this project is great as many friends and family have reached out to offer support in getting the repair done as soon as possible."
Buffalo District anticipates additional site visits to Fair Haven as we explore the best design options to repair the pier, with results expected this fall. As details and additional information become available, we are committed to continually communicate the status of the project with all interested parties.