The Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday approved a resolution urging the state’s Joint Finance Committee to approve a $550,000 recreational boating facilities grant for the breakwater project.
The grant, which was approved by the Waterways Commission, would go to pay for upgrades to the easternmost portion of the breakwater, a project city officials hope will begin later this year.
But even as the city tries to obtain funding for that portion of the project, work on the gateway portion of the breakwater is slated to begin in the next week or two.
Mayor Tom Mlada announced Tuesday that the breakwater is likely to close late this week or early next week so construction can start.
“Providing the weather holds, we’re looking forward to some early spring work this year,” he said.
Work on the first phase of the gateway project was to begin last fall. However, the city opted to delay it after learning there were potentially significant cost savings if it combined portions of the first and second phases of the project.
The first phase of the gateway project will make improvements to much of the breakwater infrastructure at the far west end — replacing most of the structure from the west side to the steel cell section.
It includes widening the walkway near the shore, making the breakwater handicapped accessible and creating a fishing platform.
The second phase includes improvements to the land around the breakwater, such as landscaping, creation of a boardwalk and a connection to the bike path.
Even as the gateway project moves ahead, the city is looking to the next phase of the work.
City Administrator Mark Grams said the grant for the eastern end of the breakwater was the only one approved by the Waterways Commission that wasn’t OK’d by the Joint Finance Committee.
“One member expressed concerns,” he said, primarily about community support for the project. “They wanted more information.”
The resolution formalizes the community’s commitment to complete the work, ensuring the state that the project is consistent with the city plans and requests the grant.
It also states that the city will provide as much as $550,000 in matching funds and in-kind services for the project.
The Joint Finance Committee is expected to meet later this month and will likely take up the matter again at that time, Grams added.
Even after that work is done, Mlada said, the city will need to find funding to repair the south breakwater, which is in dire condition.
“There is no armor stone protecting that south breakwater,” he said. “Our work is not done.”