Port Authority Goble Dry Dock and Ship Yard 2021 project

The Port of Oswego Authority (POA) this week announced the start of its redevelopment project at the former Goble Dry Dock and Shipyard, pictured under construction on Wednesday, located at the corner of West First and Lake streets. The $1.8 million development looks to boost the local economy and tourism while also providing the community with another means of downtown access, according to POA Executive Director William Scriber.

OSWEGO — The Port of Oswego Authority is moving ahead with the first phase of its Goble Dry Docks and Shipyard project in an effort to continue its overall plan for its west side properties, creating a tourism hub for the community and boaters in the Port City.

Port of Oswego Authority (POA) Executive Director William Scriber announced Tuesday that contractors were moving ahead with the multi-phased $1.8 million project redeveloping the now-eroded and unusable dock into a new modern, safer marina. The project is anticipated to be done in late spring next year.

“This is a very prosperous marine community and the Goble Dry Dock and Shipyard was one of those (historic) elements of dry docking and repairing ships, so our vision really is long term. Phase one is to build a marina over there and then expand that marina in phase two,” Scriber said. “It’s very important to us and part of our mission of historic preservation and recreation. We feel those two aspects can come together there and we’re rather excited.”

This multiphase project aims to stabilize the dry dock’s shoreline through the addition of soil and sediment and add a new, modern floating dock that can accommodate up to 25 vessels. The new marina will also reach depths at roughly 12 feet underwater and serve to provide an area for H. Lee White Maritime Museum boat tours to dock, Scriber said.

The dock, which is owned and maintained by the POA, was rendered unusable after significantly high water levels eroded the shoreline in 2017 and left it unsafe and unstable. This new marina however, is designed to prevent further high water level damage, according to Scriber.

“What had existed prior to the marina was that the shoreline had no stabilization or permanent dockage,” Scriber said of the old, unused dry dock. “What we are doing is stabilizing it and lowering the depth of the water and raising the height of the land.”

Scriber explained that the new system would mimic the east side Oswego Marina’s concrete piers with attached floating docks.

“No matter what actually the water depth is, (the docks) will adjust to the water depth, but will be based on a concrete pairing system that will stabilize the bank,” Scriber said pointing to the previous high water levels the area faced in 2017 and 2019.

Compared to other state-funded POA projects, Scriber said this project is funded entirely through the 2019 New York State Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI).

REDI is a $300 million program aimed at bolstering shoreline infrastructure and local economies. Through a more than $12 million award in REDI funding, the city of Oswego improved the Wright’s Landing Marina and Breitbeck Park, and is developing the International Pier.

In 2019, the POA received more than $2 million in REDI funding for a variety of projects including redeveloping the East Operating Dock, strengthening the Lehigh Cement Port West Dock, improving the POA West Pier, augmenting the Oswego Marina and this project, according to Scriber.

The executive director noted how this project would not have an environmental impact or disturb Lake Ontario because the work is primarily focused on land and due to that “our improvements are bettering and improving the area.”

“We are making creating a better product at the end, so there is no environmental negative — they’re all positives,” he said. “Because we are not in a water channel like the Oswego River where we would create a negative effect, expanding the marina was not an issue.”

Additionally, this project looks to boost the local economy, provide additional tourism opportunities, and provide boaters with another means of easy access to downtown, according to Scriber.

Boosting tourism and the local economy is one of the driving points for the POA, Scriber said. He noted that through this project the POA is providing tourists with better downtown access and supporting the local economy.

“We are looking to create a maritime center there that we could bring back tall ships, where we could have a direct conduit from the lake to Oswego that would bring in not only tourism but people to the area,” Scriber said.

In February, the U.S. Great Lakes Cruise Coalition announced a partnership with the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System Hwy H20 Program — a POA partner — to introduce more cruises into the Great Lakes region.

David Turner, Oswego County director of community development, tourism and planning, told The Palladium-Times that the new dock, once completed, would have a staggering impact on the local waterfront communities and supplement the city’s efforts to improve its lakeshore community.

“Oswego County is blessed with many miles of shoreline along the southern and eastern coasts of Lake Ontario, and a large part of our tourism economy is based around recreational boating and fishing,” Turner said. “We are pleased and grateful for the vision and investments that the Port and city have made and look forward to a new and vibrant waterfront area.”