Port Washington officials are hoping to parlay an $11,000 investment into enough money to make a real dent in funding the remaining improvements needed for the north breakwater.
The Common Council recently approved agreements with Foth Infrastructure and Environment LLC to prepare applications for two grants for the breakwater project.
Those grants, if approved, would complete the city’s $1 million commitment to the Army Corps of Engineers for work to be done next year on the steel-cell portion of the breakwater and provide a significant amount of funding for a walkway from that portion of the structure to the lighthouse, officials said.
The city had applied for a $250,000 Harbor Assistance program grant from the Department of Transportation. But, City Administrator Mark Grams explained, area legislators and Foth officials recommended the city increase its request to $425,0000.
“Our chances (to receive a larger grant) appear to be very, very, very good,” Grams said.
Mayor Tom Mlada noted that the reason the city qualifies for this grant is that the Denis Sullivan has been visiting on a regular basis.
If the city were to receive this grant, he said, the funds would be combined with a $500,000 Waterways Commission grant and $73,000 Boating Infrastructure Grant, Grams said.
“We would be able to reach our $1 million commitment to the Army Corps,” he said.
Just a few weeks ago the city was skeptical of its chances at any additional grant money, Grams acknowledged.
“It’s looking brighter,” he said.
The city will also apply for a Boating Infrastructure Grant for work on the breakwater east of the steel cells, Grams said.
“There aren’t many grant opportunities out there (for that portion of the work), but this is one of them,” he said.
The maximum grant is $1.5 million, Grams noted.
“Will we get that amount? I’m not sure,” he said. “But we’ll shoot for the moon and see what we get.”
Foth will be paid $5,000 for work on the Harbor Assistance Program grant and $6,000 for work on the Resources Boating Infrastructure Grant.
Aldermen also approved the revised application for the Harbor Assistance grant.
The steel-cell portion of the breakwater and the walkway east to the lighthouse are not the only areas the city is hoping to improve.
The city is also raising funds for renovations at the entry to the breakwater, including making it handicapped accessible, installing a boardwalk and fishing platform and developing a kayak launch and wetlands.
The cost of that work is estimated at $600,000, plus $100,000 for engineering.
The city has already received a $75,000 stewardship grant for that work, he said. The Fund for Lake Michigan grant includes $75,000 for the entryway and $2,500 for the city to take part in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Grams noted.