Plans for parks to be discussed

Rockport to consider library construction gift, appoint citizens to RES committee, decide harbor, opera house fees

Mon, 10/14/2019 - 5:30pm

ROCKPORT — When the Select Board in Rockport convenes Oct. 15 for a regularly scheduled meeting, its members will consider a donation from an anonymous person to finish construction of the new library’s lower level. 

The board will also talk about fees for harbor (rental of Marine Park green for events and weddings to cost more; dock tie-offs status quo ) and opera house (going up); possibly create a comprehensive plan committee; hear a report from the Parks and Beautification Committee; appoint four citizens to the committee this has been tasked with producing a proposal to redevelop the former Rockport Elementary School site; possibly accept a $15,000 state grant to plan for harbor bulkhead repairs; and go behind closed doors to discussion a legal matter.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Geoffrey C. Parker Room at the Rockport Opera House and will be streamed at https://livestream.com/Rockportmaine

Library donation

According to Town Manager William Post, an unidentified donor has stepped forward, offering to fund a more extensive completion of the new library’s lower level.

The library, with an approximately price tag of $3.5 million, is currently under construction at 1 Limerock Street, with Phi Builders, of Rockport, as lead contractor. 

“When the library construction project was put out to bid, the plans had ‘Alternate 1’ for contractors to bid on which included some additional finishing work in the lower level of the library,” wrote Town Manager Post, in his Oct. 15 recommendation report to the board. “This work included better lighting throughout the lower level, complete finished flooring throughout the lower level, and removing some walls for better program space and multi-media meeting space. This alternate work was not selected to be done because of the additional cost and is not part of the current construction with Phi Builders.”

But, he said, a funder wants to pay for the Alternate 1 construction costs, “to make a more complete library,” he said.  “This will also allow for better storage in the lower level, by moving some doors.”

He advised that due to the construction schedule, the board is required to vote on the donation now.

“The contractor, owner’s representative, architect, donor, Library Foundation representatives and Select Board liaisons have discussed this proposal and agree that it will be an improvement of the lower level of the library,” he said, suggesting the board approve a motion to accept the donation. 

The donation total has yet to be specified.

RES Committee

In September, the Select Board talked at length about candidates for the newly created RES Redevelopment Committee. The board interviewed five of those citizens who stepped forward, volunteering to serve on the committee, which is to create a redevelopment proposal for the town to consider.

But, aside from appointing two select board members, Doug Cole and Debra Hall, and the chairwoman of the Parks and Beautification Committee, Haunani Wallace, the board declined to add new members, saying they wanted more applications.

Now the board has nine applications for the committee. (See attached PDF for the individual applications for the committee)

Allen Mitchell

Amanda Dwelley

David Jackson

Janet Hall

Mary Stevens

Dyke Messler

Martin Cates

Eric Boucher

Sarah Greer

Post has suggested the following motion:

I move the Board appoint (choose 4 from the list below including one “neighbor” representative) to the RES Redevelopment Committee.

Harbor Work

A $15,000 grant is to be used to develop an engineering plan to rebuild the existing wharf, an erosion control plan for a portion of the bulkhead, an engineering assessment of the existing wood piles along the harbor sea wall, development of a dredging plan for a portion of the harbor at the outlet of the Goose River, and develop a plan to increase parking to serve the harbor, according to the town manager.

The match for the grant from the Town is $6,000, in cash and in-kind services. The Town can use some funding in the current fiscal year from the Harbor reserve accounts and then budget for the remainder in FY21.

If the Board accepts this grant, an RFP for engineering services will be prepared and released and the engineering work will begin as soon as possible.