The transit authority is moving ahead with more than $600,000 in dock repairs and marine service improvements for the Buffalo Marina and beach properties.
The "to-do" list for the Fuhrmann Boulevard marina includes $131,000 in repairs to docks that were damaged in a mid-September wind storm. High winds and waves upended the marina's "E, F and G" docks, tearing out underwater anchoring "spuds," and ruining aluminum dock ramps.
The damage brought the boating season to an abrupt end for some 280 slip holders, who could no longer access their boats.
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority will also invest nearly $123,000 to refinish the "E and F" docks, which had a pre-existing rust problem.
"We were in the process of assessing what we could do to extend the useful life of the docks when the windstorm hit," said NFTA General Counsel David Gregory. "In a way, the timing was good because we needed to address the rust problem."
Gregory said it's likely total storm damage will exceed the $250,000 deductible on the harbor's insurance coverage, helping to defray some of the dock fix-up expense. "In an ideal world, the state would now own the boat harbor, and we wouldn't be facing any of these expenses," he said.
Gregory noted these are expenditures that might appear frivolous at a time when the NFTA is proposing a 50-cent hike in bus and rail fares.
"Dock repairs might not seem like a priority, but if we don't get them back in service, we'll lose significant revenues." Slip rental income of $200,000 will be lost if the three battered docks aren't functioning for the 2009 boating season, Gregory said.
The NFTA is already trying to plug a $400,000 budget gap resulting from the state's failure to follow through on a $4 million deal to purchase the 1,022 slip marina and nearby Gallagher Beach. Revenues from the expected property transfer, which was first proposed by former Gov. George E. Pataki in 2004, were to be applied to the overall NFTA budget in $400,000 increments over a 10-year period.
The NFTA board of commissioners is expected to vote Monday on a $254,847 contract with Hillcrest Coatings, of Attica, to repair, sandblast and powder coat the three docks. Gregory said rust problems with the remaining harbor docks will be addressed as the agency's funding situation improves.
The NFTA board is also scheduled to take action on two other contracts to make gas dock improvements and upgrade electrical connections at the marina.