Boatyard Mystic in Connecticut

Mystic, CT Community Divided over Boatyard Development Project

Mystic, Connecticut — Noank Shipyard and Seaport Marine’s owners are planning new reconstructions on their Mystic River 11-acre boatyard. While the boatyard currently has a restaurant, storage space for boats, and a warehouse, the owners are planning to revitalize it.

Noank Shipyard’s owners want to attract more locals to their property. By adding child-friendly spaces and food stops, living areas, and a hotel, the area could become more popular with tourists and locals.

Some reports have stated that this new business venture could jeopardize Stonington side, the historic district in Mystic.

The district has been preserved since the 19th century and is a favorite of visitors. Additionally, locals living in the areas neighboring the Noank Shipyard have expressed concerns over the restoration. An already crowded area, plus the construction works, could pose a problem, according to some comments from locals.

General manager of Noank Shipyard, Harry Boardsen, stated that, after fifteen years of developing the boatyard, the company is planning to move forward with their vision. Boardsens stated that they would name the project Smiler’s Wharf.

There are plans to build a hotel, a park, one apartment complex, boat slips, as well as a hotel. Other facilities will include a new restaurant and recreational areas.

Matt Beaudoin, the Mystic Knotwork owner, said that the project could change the historical waterfront. Beaudoin’s business is located close to Noank Shipyard, and he claims the area’s character and charm might be affected by the restoration. Furthermore, Beaudoin stated that he believed it wasn’t the right move for the company. But, he is not against the project, stating that the taxes and a struggling town budget could benefit from it.

During a public meeting on Monday, several benefits of the new Smiler’s Wharf were discussed. Among them were the introduction of green spaces, improved tourism, and the money the community would earn from taxes. However, those who were opposed to the project expressed concerns over traffic increase, parking issues, as well as a risk of floods.

Harry Boardsen stated that the company was outlining plans that could solve these issues. According to Boardsen, the company will construct new bulkheading on the waterfront (approximately 2,000 ft). Additionally, there would be “hundreds” of new parking spaces, Boardsen said.

The general manager is confident that the new bulkheading will improve stormwater and flooding management, as well as coastal resiliency. Moreover, there were talks of a zoning change, but the decision was pushed during Monday’s meeting. It might take some time to implement. The plans to restore Noank Shipyard and Seaport Marine’s are estimated to be completed in 2021.

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