New Haven has a vision to make its stretch of shoreline a better destination for business and leisure.
The city has hired an award-winning design firm that has worked on waterfronts in places like New York and Baltimore, as well as overseas.
"This is probably one of the greatest harbors anywhere and it’s not fully realized and taken advantage of," Stan Eckstut from the architecture and design firm Perkins-Eastman said.
Jodi Millett from Woodbridge told NBC Connecticut she doesn’t visit New Haven’s Long Wharf nearly enough.
"I can’t stress enough that, you know, they probably need to put more in to draw more people," she said. "It’s a good idea."
Using half of the funding from a $950,000 state grant, the city hired the team from Perkins-Eastman.
"We want to build upon the opening of the new maritime center and start to make even more of a harbor destination," Eckstut said at a news conference Tuesday morning.
The renovated visitor center with a snack shack has already reopened and the new Canal Dock Boat House is set to open sometime in 2018.
"We’ve actually started the first round of coastal resiliency by putting in new rip-rap along Long Wharf park," Michael Piscitelli, New Haven’s deputy administrator for economic development, said.
Mayor Toni Harp said she would like the waterfront to become more accessible with more attractions.
"I’d like to see an expanded pier that is not just for fishing and boats but other kinds of leisure activities," she said.
And she shared her vision for the other side of Interstate 95.
"I’d love to see this part of Long Wharf attract businesses that will hire of hundreds of people," Harp said.
City officials and the design firm are seeking input from people who already live in the Hill neighborhood and work in the area.
"We’ve been on this side of the highway since 1964," said Marna Wilber, director of corporate communications for Assa Abloy.
Six hundred employees work in manufacturing and the offices at Assa Abloy’s facility near Long Wharf.
"They’re always interested in what’s going to happen with traffic," Wilber said.
As the design firm receives recommendations over the next nine months, Millett said she’d like to see "more restaurants, more coffee shops would be great."