$7.8 million for road repairs over next 10 years

Rockport spotlights infrastructure, capital improvements

Tue, 11/16/2021 - 2:00pm

    Rockport officials met for a workshop Nov. 15 to discuss a longterm 127-page Capital Improvement Plan, which identifies infrastructure improvements and funding requests from each of the municipality’s departments for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. The meeting was attended by members of the Select Board, the Budget Committee and the Capital Improvement Committee, as well as Town Manager Jon Duke and Finance Director Megan Brackett.

    As the meeting was a workshop of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) no vote was taken; after future workshops, specific proposed expenditures of the CIP will need to be voted on by the Select Board in order for proposals and funding to be allocated in the the yearly budget in February 2022.

    The goal of reviewing the CIP was to lay before the committees and boards a wishlist of proposed projects and expenditures. 

    Projects in the CIP include $7.5 million for road repairs, as well as ideas to create a new entrance to Rockport Harbor and to investigate expansion of the Public Safety building.  

    See attached PDF for the full CIP.

    “Capital planning and the conversations we’re going to have tonight are really at the forefront of the next chapter for Rockport...When I started, I worked with [Brackett] very closely to figure out ‘how does this process work, how can we make this better, how can we find a way to that I’m seeing in the office or department heads are seeing or residents are seeing and are coming to us or are bringing to the Select Board, how do we take this and engage in this process in a different way,” said Town Manager Jon Duke.

    He continued: “We tried to put together members of the Budget Committee and the Capital Improvement Committee, as that committee has existed for many years, and get everybody in the same room to talk about these issues and talk about these concerns and let that conversation float back to the Select Board, let the Select Board hear those conversations, and the dialog that’s happening amongst everyone in this room.

    Listed below is an overview of requests made by several of the Town’s department heads for repairs, construction, funding and acquisitions in the upcoming fiscal year as well as projects to be funded and completed over as many as 10 years.

    Public Works Department

    The Public Works proposal includes an estimated $7.5 million project to repair and maintain the Town’s 68 miles of roads over the next 10 years.

    This cost estimate is based on the current construction rate within the town of $80 per ton.

    The $7.5 million would be paid in annual increments of approximately $780,000. Duke said that only $450,000 was earmarked for roads in the 2021-2022 budget. He said that although new roads are expected to last 10 years, factors such as traffic and water drainage can bring the lifespan of a road down to as little as seven years.

    “I asked all of our department heads to look very carefully and hard to add items to this list,” he said. “From the conversations that were probably had last year, there are a lot of new items on here, and I did that on purpose. The reason I did that on purpose is that I feel that our department heads were not being as visionary as they need to with their department. We need to push, we need to really look carefully at ‘what does the next five years look like in Rockport’ and in particular we looked very carefully at roads,” said Duke.

    A list of roads throughout town was prepared by Public Works Director Mike Young, and prioritized by need of repair, beginning with roads which should be repaired in 2022, and then roads to be repaired over the next five and 10 years.

    The roads listed as highest priority for repairs include Alexander Dr., Beauchamp Point Rd., upper Camden St., Ledgewood Dr. and Winding Way.

    Under this proposal, $5 million would need to be spent on roads over the next three years. 

    Duke said that he viewed the repairs to Rockport’s roads as the highest priority among proposals outlined in the CIP.

    Budget Committee member Geoff Parker asked whether Duke put the Public Works proposal at the ‘top of the list’ based on the fact that it was the highest cost estimate among all departments.

    “All of us have experiences that we bring to the table and that have caused us to support one cause over another, that’s why we’re here – we have passions from various parts of the community. Infrastructure hits everybody. Everybody drives on our roads, everybody has to get to work, everybody has to get to school, there’s some unanimity behind that,” said Duke.

    Rockport Harbor

    Projects in and around Rockport Harbor include constructing a new entrance to the Marine Park parking area from Pascal Avenue, for an estimated cost of $160,000.

    “Right now you can't take a right turn into the harbor which makes it difficult because when people try (often) it back up traffic on Pascal and becomes a safety issue with pedestrians, bikers and other cars on the road,” said Harbor Master Abbie Leonard.

    Other projects include:

    *$150,000 to dredge the inner harbor and remove ledge at the entrance of the harbor from Goose River

    *$25,000 for a float to accommodate larger boats in the harbor

    *$25,000 additional dinghy space

    *$26,000 for a truck for Harbor Master/Marine Park

    Police Department

    *$25,000 to replace all cruiser cameras

    *$26,000 for body cameras


    *$800,000 to expand Public Safety building

    “Adding on proper space behind the current building for locker rooms, shower rooms, sleeping quarters for law enforcement, garage space for cruisers and additional office space for police department employees. The police department currently has no locker rooms for changing, or showering, no storage space, no sleeping quarters, inadequate office space and no inside space for cruisers in winter months.”

    Parks Department

    *$180,000 to restore the lime kilns at Marine Park

    Rockport Opera House

    *$50,000 to paint the auditorium

    *$30,000 to remove and replace all balcony seating

    *$11,000 audio/video upgrades

    *$20,000 construction of a concession stand


    *$35,000 to build new roads and drainage to make new lots available at SeaView Cemetery 

    Rockport Public Library

    *$40,000 for seven new parking spaces

    “The library has a lack of parking which is often expressed by patrons during the summer months and whenever we hold programs. Installing seven more spots to our existing parking area would fix this problem,” said Library Director Ben Blackmon.

    The next meeting of the Rockport Select Board will be held Monday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House.