The Walk Bridge Project will be imposing a number of permanent and temporary easements on the Maritime Aquarium. Among the impacts will be demolition of certain parts of the building and other improvements as follows:
- The deck platform and dock associated with the Aquarium’s research vessel, the “Spirit of the Sound”;
- IMAX Theatre;
- Annex building and animal exhibits located within that building; and
- Seal Exhibit.
The State will be paying the City $2,165,000.00 for the value of these easements. As with any other property owner, the City and the Aquarium are entitled to fair market value for these “takings”.
However, unlike any other property owner, the State has ALSO agreed to functionally replace all of the affected areas of the building and other improvements at the Aquarium rather than just providing the City and Aquarium with a payment for the current value of these assets. The cost to functionally replace these areas of the building and other improvements is estimated to cost $34,552,395.00.
The City and Aquarium are able to “double-dip” from transportation funds paid for with your tax dollars improvements because the land and buildings occupied by the Aquarium happen to be owned by the City, and the Property is held out to the general public for the purposes of education and scientific advancement.
All of this is on top of the roughly $30,000,000 bonded by the City of Norwalk on behalf of the Aquarium, which debt has been forgiven and not repaid.