Rockland proposes pedestrian trail beautification project, begins engineering study

Sun, 01/09/2022 - 8:15pm

    ROCKLAND — A couple of city streets in Rockland that receive heavy pedestrian traffic as part of the Rockland Harbor Trail are being eyed for a beautification project by the City. The project aims to add sidewalks where people currently hug the roadway, and to add greenery and “bump outs” for a parklet-like atmosphere in a region grayed with old brick and pavement.

    The City of Rockland is proposing to add sidewalks, widen others, and to incorporate islands of green along Tillson Avenue and Park Drive, provided that funding can be acquired and that adjacent businesses accept the proposal.

    In the past, the City approved using $4,000 from the Downtown Tillson Avenue TIF account in order to acquire design drafts of the proposal. The TIF reserve is designated for lighting and sidewalks in the Downtown area.

    On January 10, Rockland City Council will consider approving an order to draw another $30,000 from the TIF account.

    The estimated cost of a beautification engineering study is $30,000, according to City Manager Tom Luttrell.

    When asked by Councilor Louise MacLellan-Ruf, during the Jan. 3 Agenda-Setting meeting, why previous engineering assessments of the area couldn’t be used, Luttrell said that only Park Drive stormwater engineering had been done, courtesy of Mike Sabatini of Landmark Engineering. No beautification studies have been done.

    The City is working with Trade Winds about extending the sidewalk along the lodging establishment’s roadside property line, as well as adding small green spaces.

    “They are very curious and willing to have the City put sidewalks on their side of the road,” said Luttrell.

    The City currently has sidewalks from Winslow-Holbrook Park, which is on the Trade Winds’ south side, right up to the entrance to the backside of the Trade Winds’ building. The City wants to bring the sidewalk to the side of the building, and then all the way down.

    According to Luttrell, the lodging establishment will need to reconfigure its parking and allow an easement for the proposed green spaces.

    On the opposite side of the road, the City is looking at putting paver sidewalks from 279 Main Street, in front of the building once known as the Sears Building – and now owned by Maine Sport –  and down to the Lighthouse Museum and Police Plaza.

    Down the road, Hamilton Marine’s property line is established by a double curb at the Park Drive roadside. The City proposes a sidewalk along that stretch. If Hamilton declines to provide permission, Rockland’s Plan B will be a crosswalk near Winter and Commercial streets so that pedestrians can access the roadside Harbor Trail on the opposite side.

    On Tillson, the sidewalk from Thorndike parking lot to the wastewater treatment plant has just been finished. Part of the proposal is to widen some of that sidewalk and add sidewalk further down Tillson in order to connect with the east side of the intersection. On the treatment plant property, sidewalks will extend all the way to the bridge. 

    Once the engineering is done, the City may look at accessing Community Development Building Grants or other grants to help pay for this down the road.

    “But the key is the engineering first,” said Luttrell.