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Opponents of Connecticut State Pier redevelopment project speak out following Lamont visit

State Pier opponents with State Pier New London in the background
Brian Scott-Smith
WSHU Public Radio
State Pier opponents with State Pier New London in the background

Opponents of the State Pier redevelopment in New London have been speaking out after a recent visit by Governor Ned Lamont.

Lamont visited New London last month to see the progress of making the State Pier a regional hub for the offshore wind industry. Costs for the project have increased from the initial $93 million to a newly estimated $250 million.

Steve Farrelly is the owner of DRVN, which used to run a salt business at State Pier until it was forced to close and move by the Connecticut Port Authority.

Farrelly said he is prepared to test Lamont’s claim that he wants to keep small businesses like his in the state.

“I think what I’m going to do is apply for a grant or a loan. And I think the state, if he can back his words, will help me out with some financial aid. So, we’ll let you know how that goes in the future. But I think that will basically call him out and see if it’s just the campaign rumblings and get everybody on my side or, basically, he’s a man of his word,” Farrelly said.

Farrelly has managed to remain in business in another part of the state. But he has not recovered from the financial loss of having to move and has trouble with banks.

Kevin Blacker is a local business owner and long-time critic of the Connecticut Port Authority. Blacker said he believes that the results of several ongoing state investigations into the project and of the Port Authority have stalled redevelopment to the point of no return.

“The attorney general investigation will yield the fruit that they’ve been holding back the Coast Guard PAWSA, which has been delayed, will be released,” he said. “That PAWSA — the ports and waterways safety assessment — shows increased risk of collision between nuclear subs, chemical tankers, other users of the port that will be caused by the Connecticut Port Authority’s redevelopment.”

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.