The owners of a Mystic boatyard are hoping to bring the property to life with more places for people to play, live and grab a bite to eat.
But some worry about the effect on the village’s Stonington side, near Washington and Willow Streets.
This project has generated a lot of interest in town. So many people showed up at the last meeting when it was debated it was canceled and moved to Monday with a bigger room for the crowd.
Just steps from the heart of Mystic, neighbors are concerned about a plan to transform a property in already bustling area.
Noank Shipyard wants to revitalize its 11 acres by the Mystic River, which currently includes boat storage, a warehouse and a restaurant.
“This project is the culmination of about 15 years of ownership by our family here in Stonington,” explained Harry Boardsen, the Noank Shipyard general manager.
Boardsen explained their vision for what’s being called Smiler’s Wharf. It includes building a new hotel, an apartment building, another restaurant and recreational facilities such as boat slips and a park.
“Everyone comes here for historical downtown waterfront. That’s what it is,” said Matt Beaudoin, who owns Mystic Knotwork, a nearby business.
He’s concerned how the proposal could change the character of the area, though is keeping an open mind.
“With everything going on in the state with taxes and needing to keep the budget under control, the town has to do something. I’m not convinced this is the right thing to do. But I’m not opposed either,” Beaudoin said.
Monday people packed a public meeting, where they spoke about the benefits including possible boosts to tourism, green space and tax dollars.
But there are worries including potential impacts to parking, traffic and the flood risk.
Boardsen says they’re going to add hundreds of parking spots and will build 2,000 feet of new bulkheading.
“It will help with coastal resiliency, storm water management, things of that nature which will help the town as well as our property,” he explained.
No decision was made tonight about a needed zoning change. If all goes as planned, the owner hopes to break ground in 2021.