By slim margin, St. George approves Port Clyde harbor redevelopment project

Posted:  Monday, May 14, 2018 - 9:30pm

By the slimmest of margins, St. George voters agreed to spend $2.64 million to design and engineer a waterfront infrastructure project in Port Clyde. The warrant article that appeared before citizens at annual town meeting polls May 14 passed by a vote of 188 to 184.

At the same polls, voters elected Randall Elwell back on the Select Board with 327votes and Jennifer Garrett to the school board, with 324 votes. On May 15, the St. George annual town meeting will take place at 7 p.m., at the St. George Town Office in Tenants Harbor.

Click here to see the warrant, which includes the municipal budget to run the town over the next fiscal year, July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

The warrant article that voters addressed by secret ballot at the polls on May 14 read: to “Approve a capital project consisting of the development of property located at 10 Cold Storage Road in St. George, including infrastructure for commercial and public recreational use, all as presented at the public hearing on March 29, 2018, and including design, engineering and transaction costs and other expenses reasonably related thereto; (2) Appropriate the sum of $2,640,000 for the cost of the project; (3) Authorize the Town Treasurer and Chair of the Select Board to issue general obligation securities of the Town in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $2,640,000 to fund the appropriation; and (4) Delegate to the Treasurer and Chair the discretion to fix the date, maturities, interest rates, form and other details of said securities, including the discretion to execute, sell and deliver the securities on behalf of the Town?”

The first phase of the project was completed in 2015 when the town purchased the property which adjoins the existing town landing in Port Clyde, at the former St. George Marine property at 10 Cold Storage Road. 

The second phase has been to develop a construction plan to repair, improve and expand the property into a facility that has adequate infrastructure to adapt and support a wide range of future commercial and recreational activities. The final phase will begin the gradual development of a plan to use the new facility once the voters approve a construction plan.

The planning process has been led by the Harbor Committee chaired by Dan Morris of Port Clyde. 

The process, which took more than a year, was assisted by planning consultants from the Musson Group and engineers from GF Johnston and Associates. The essence of the plan is to create a single waterfront facility by connecting the existing town landing to the new property. This would be accomplished by filling in two areas with stone and would nearly double the useable wharf surface by adding 9,400 square feet. It would also increase dock frontage by over 150 feet. The plan has the potential for increased floats for docking, a second improved launch ramp, some additional parking and basic amenities such as shoreside benches and walkways.

Morris added, “This solution has a life-span of 75 years or more and it will allow the Town to have control of a waterfront access point at a time when access is shrinking locally and statewide. The Committee feels that this approach is a better value for theTown’s dollars versus a more costly option involving many cycles of continuous repair and improvement”.

The project has the support of the Harbor Committee, Select Board and Budget Committee. The proposed financing method is to obtain a 20-year bond. Any grant options that could offset cost in the future will be evaluated. The property tax impact to the average homeowner would be approximately $60 per year, or $1,200 over the twenty-year period.