May 5 meeting

Rockland invites community to discuss its conceptual plan for city waterfront

Wed, 04/27/2022 - 10:45am

    ROCKLAND — For the past few years, Rockland’s Downtown Waterfront Advisory Committee has been mulling over ideas of how to revamp the seven acres of connected and prime city harborfront land. Now, it is inviting citizens to a Community Conversation, May 5, to discuss draft plans for city parks and piers on Rockland’s downtown waterfront.  

    The meeting will be held 6 to 8 p.m., in Council Chambers, Rockland City Hall. Participants may also attend via Zoom.

    The project area includes more than 1,000 feet of publicly-owned waterfront consisting of Harbor and Buoy parks and their associated piers, the Public Landing and Middle Pier. Also included are Mildred Merrill Park, and Gilbert and Adams Central Park. 

    The Downtown Waterfront Advisory Committee has been working on an integrated site plan and implementation roadmap since 2020 with interested stakeholders, and with help from Southwest Harbor planning and design consultants, the Musson Group, contracted with a $30,000 grant from the Maine Coastal Program. 

    The draft plan, according to a news release, provides flexibility for accommodating diverse recreational and commercial uses of the parks and piers, including those things identified by the Community as important in last year’s community survey. It also identifies necessary repairs and improvements to improve resilience with increasing storm surges and expected sea levels.  

    The Community Conversation on May 5 will include a facilitated discussion of the conceptual site design and its components.  Committee members are looking for input so that they can make any adjustments or fill any gaps before finalizing their plan and making recommendations to City Council, which they intend to do Sept. 8.

    “The idea is to capture a vision that the community is excited about so that we can apply for grants to help make it a reality,” said Rockland Community Development Director Julie Hashem.

    According to the project website, “While these properties have the potential to be the crown jewel of Rockland’s waterfront, today they are under-utilized and require maintenance and upgrades to address conditions and challenges like flood plain requirements, the trends of sea level rise, public access, and a complex variety of users and uses.”

    A $50,000 Community Action Grant from the State announced last week will fund preliminary engineering of the marine infrastructure, which is the next step in preparing to apply for federal grants.  

    The committee, which was created by order of City Council in July 2020, consists of:

    Representatives of the City’s Parks & Recreation Committee, Harbor Management Commission, and  Harbor Trail Committee, as well as additional members appointed by City Council.

    Members are:

    • Paul Benjamin
    • Jeffrey Boggs
    • Kate Doiron
    • Sam Ladley
    • Matthew Ondra
    • Ginny Savage
    • Joan Wright

    Supporting City of Rockland staff and officials:

    • Julie Hashem, Community Development
    • Ryan Murray, Harbor Master
    • Ed Glaser, City Council