CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. –The Croton Village Board has taken the first step in repairing the Croton Yacht Club's bulkhead, a massive steel structure which keeps the club from collapsing into the Hudson River. Preliminary estimates for repairing the bulkhead have come in at $3.3 million.
Village officials are still questioning how they will pay for the huge repair. The yacht club creates $12,500 in revenue for the village annually, according to Village Manager Abraham Zambrano.
"We need to open that conversation with the yacht club, with how they're going to make this price a little easier to swallow for taxpayers," said Trustee Greg Schmidt.
Normally an expense incurred only every 50 years, the yacht club's current bulkhead lasted only about 25 years before village officials discovered it needed repair. Some village officials, like Marco Gennarelli, Director of the Department of Public Works, have said stray electrical currents coming off of Metro-North rail lines accelerate corrosion.
Trustee Casey Raskob, has said there is a "significant electricity leakage," and as an attorney, "I thought it was private nuisance in the classic definition."
The Village Board declared that repairing the bulkhead at the Croton Yacht Club will not have an environmental impact, known as a "Negative Declaration," a state environmental law requirement. The declaration is the first step in starting the reconstruction process. Mayor Wiegman called it a "pro forma" step.
The village has already applied for federal grants to offset the cost, the grant is worth $1 million.
If Croton continues to collect $12,500 annually from the yacht club, and the entire revenue were to go toward repairing the bulkhead, over 50 years that revenue would only account for 18.9 percent of the cost. If the bulkhead lasts for 25 years, as the current bulkhead has, the revenue would cover less than 10 percent of the cost of its replacement.
Village officials have tossed around ideas to earn additional revenue from the yacht club. Trustee Greg Schmidt, at a work session in October, raised the possibility of adding a restaurant to the piece of property.
Although a restaurant would undoubtedly bring the village additional revenue, it’s unclear if another story could even be added to the existing yacht club structure. Concerns over parking, crane operations and liquor licenses were also cited as obstacles by village trustees.