With design board approval, town sets sights on Mystic boathouse construction

STONINGTON — Historic preservation and environmental cleanup needs have long hindered construction from moving forward at Mystic River Boathouse Park, but approval of site design last week has officials hopeful that a shovel could hit the ground later this year.

Members of the town’s Architectural Design Review Board voted unanimously last week to approve design plans for the park, which will be built on a 1.5-acre parcel along Route 27 just north of Mystic Seaport. The approval is just one of several local and state boards that will need before beginning physical work.

First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough said that although this is just the first hurdle in the permit and review process, it is a big step towards bringing a project to fruition that has been in the works for seven years now. Voters first approved a bond in 2016 that granted the town $2.2 million in bonding to use for purchase and development of the park.

“There is still more to do before we’ll be ready to put a shovel in the ground, but this is a big step in that direction,” Chesebrough said. “This is the first major milestone and something for us to now build on.”

The project still needs to go before the town’s Board of Police Commissioner’s, as well as the Planning and Zoning Commission, for final approvals. Due to the installation of docks and development of a “living shoreline” environment, officials said the project would need state approvals as well.

Under the proposed plan for the site, which is located just north of Mystic Seaport adjacent mainly to private property, the work will involve relocating the historic home known as the Lovelace House north to allow for constriction of the Jim Dietz Rowing Center and Hart Perry Boathouse. A new dock will be established along a renovated shoreline that will incorporate natural materials and native plants to create the “living shoreline,” officials said, while remaining land would then be used for a lawn, parking lot and other landscaping.

Site plan designs were completed by Kent + Frost Architecture Design of Mystic.

Stonington Rowing Center Inc., or SRCI, a nonprofit …


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