STAMFORD, Conn. -- Better late than never for Norman Cole.
Two days after he retired as Stamford's Land Use Bureau Chief and many years after the idea was first floated, Cole was finally able to see a completed boardwalk between the Crab Shell Restaurant and Boccuzzi Park.
"We started it in 1985 ... we thought it was something that was going to happen in 10 years," he said.
The city kept working on the project and was able to finish it most of it about three years ago, Cole said. The property owner eventually agreed to grant the city the right to build the walkway. But just as the city was about to build it, the owner sold the property to Belpoint Real Estate, a Greenwich-based developer.
Paxton Kinol, managing director of Belpointe's Real Estate Group, quickly met with Cole after purchasing the property and said they would do a more elaborate plan than the city's.
"Instead of a rudimentary connection we have a high-quality, nicely landscaped connection," Cole said approvingly about Belpointe's work on the 200-foot-long section.
Kinol said the boardwalk is the "culmination" of about 20 years of effort to get it completed. He was the developer for the Avalon Bay marina project years ago on the south end of the boardwalk.
'It's kind of the final piece that we have been trying to do for 20 years to connect Boccuzzi Park and the Crab Shell boardwalk," he said.
The boardwalk, along land that was formerly an industrial area, provides residents with more access to enjoy the Waterside neighborhood waterfront.
As of Thursday, there was a gate blocking access as work was completed on a small part of the 200-foot-long portion. In fact, some people had already taken advantage of the completed boardwalk and passed by Stamford Mayor David Martin and others who had gathered for the press conference.
Cole noted that TGM Anchorpoint built a 120-foot section of the boardwalk earlier this year.
Even as officials gathered for the ribbon cutting - or in this case duct tape cutting - because there wasn't any ribbon available, work was progressing on Belpointe's new development, a 109-unit apartment building called Baypointe. It will be completed by May, he said.