Today is Thursday, June 4, 2020 – The Water Taxi is not running.  

water taxi

Launch Party set for July 3–don’t miss it!

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The Transition Team hopes that everyone interested in the new Heritage Park can join in celebrating the “official” opening of the water taxi service on July 3rd, even though it will already have been running for a few weeks. But at the time of the party all the kinks should be ironed out (if there are even any kinks to iron) and the taxi will be running smoothly and on schedule.

There’ll be a ribbon cutting at Pier 7 in new London’s Fort Trumbull and a short program from 3-4pm. Your faithful blogger does not know if there will also be cake, but she hopes so. Never pass up the opportunity to eat cake at Fort Trumbull, is what I always say. View the complete invitation here.

And for those of you who haven’t heard, the newly formed agency, the Thames River Heritage Park Foundation, is offering Charter Memberships, which entitle you to unlimited water taxi rides, an end-of-season exclusive cocktail party and other discounts and incentives, so be sure to look into this too. Find more info on our website here.

memb card

But whatever you do, stop by Fort Trumbull on July 3rd and meet the crew of the water taxis, hear what we’ve got planned all along the river for the summer, and enjoy Fort Trumbull, one of the area’s great parks.

 

It’s not only the Water Taxi that’s embarking on a shakedown cruise . . .

The Communications Committee of the Transition Team met with Thames River Water Taxi Captain Jackie Dietrich last week, as we went over scheduling and pricing plans for the summer. The Water Taxi should be taking its “maiden voyage” on June 10th, and depending on passenger interest they’ll be adjusting their pick-up and drop-off schedule as the season progresses. But expect it to run from Friday to Sunday starting at 10AM and going till 9PM. One “loop” of the sites takes approximately an hour.

water taxi line drawing

Here’s a link to their schedule page.

One of the ways in which we hope that the public (that’s YOU), the heritage sites, and local businesses help us with as the summer progresses is by providing as much feedback as possible. This is the first Heritage Park in the state, and all of us are on a shakedown cruise—no one has done this before. We need your suggestions, comments, questions, concerns (praise is good too) on anything you can think of: park accessibility, hours of operation, water taxi issues, prices, signage, access to businesses, information services, transportation, lack of ice cream vendors . . . anything you can think of, let us know! We want to make this Heritage Park a success for everyone.

You can use the comments section of this blog, or visit our Facebook Page, or write write to us at info@thamesriverheritagepark.org.

Our water taxi will be Irish for a day in New London’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Crocker’s Boat Yard in New London, which has been graciously storing our new water taxis, posted this photo on their Facebook page:Crocker's cleaning water taxi

Prepping our parade float for St. Patrick’s Day Parade New London with the Thames River Heritage Park Boat!

Many members of the Transition Team, including Groton City Mayor Marian Galbraith, will be riding in the boat as it becomes an Irish “boat-float” for a day. Come to the parade (Sunday the 13th at 1pm) and meet the water taxi!

We Crocker’s Boat Yard!

Transition Team Updates from the recent meeting

The Transition Team as a whole met Wednesday December 9th, this time at the Submarine Force Library and Museum, located, cleverly, right next to the Sub Base on Crystal Lake Rd. (off of Rt 12) in Groton. And what a very cool place it is, with interesting items on the grounds and an interactive museum just like Fort Trumbull.

 

Here's  the entrance
Here’s the entrance
The museum space is huge
The museum space is huge

There are all kinds of colorful thingamabobs outside the building.

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Here’s a vintage sub—how cute!—from the 1950’s

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This one looks scary

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There’s the Nautilus, napping at the dock (and nearby will be the future site of the dock of the water taxi—we hope!)

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You don’t realize how big these things are till you meet them face to face—this conning tower is at the entrance to the museum

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The committees had lots of news to report, but it was kind of sad because this marked the last meeting for our friend and fellow Transition Team member, Captain Carl Lahti, the 50th Commanding officer of the Naval Submarine Base New London (his official title, and yes, the base is on the Groton side of the river). Carl has been really great about keeping us in the loop regarding the status of the plans for future water taxi dock space near the Nautilus, and we learned more at this meeting regarding that. At this point the Navy is waiting for an updated proposal from the CT DEEP (one is in place but it is ten years old so time to update it), which will happen when permits and funds are in place, so the water taxi dock at the Nautilus will not happen in 2016. However, all parties are quite positive about it, and our new liaison, Captain Paul Whitescarver (the 51st Commanding officer of the Naval Submarine Base New London), was also at the meeting and promised to pick up where Capt. Lahti left off.

Water taxi committee Chair Marian Galbraith gave an overview of what’s in store for our new boats this winter: first the “de-preservation” of the engines, then a marine survey to tell us what’s needed to bring the boats up to USCG passenger-carrying standards, then the development of a budget. Meanwhile, the hulls will be painted before it gets too cold. A big plus is that all the canvas is in good shape—phew! One expensive bullet dodged.

The Team also discussed the continuing hunt for permanent office space for the new 501 c 3, the RFP for water taxi operation, and the bylaws and articles of incorporation for the agency, which will be in place by the end of the year.

The City of Groton is also looking into obtaining insurance so volunteers can work helping get the boats ready. And we couldn’t have done any of this without the generosity of our pals at Crocker’s Boat Yard on Howard Street in New London where the taxis are being stored free of charge.