On May 14, St. George residents will be asked to vote on a $2.6 million rehabilitation and development project at the former St. George Marine property at 10 Cold Storage Road in Port Clyde.
The first phase of the project was completed in 2015 when the town purchased the property which adjoins the existing town landing. The second phase has been to develop a construction plan to repair, improve, and expand the property into a facility that can support a range of commercial and recreational activities.
The final phase will begin the gradual development of the new facility, once the voters approve a construction plan.
The planning process has been led by the town harbor committee, whose chairman is Dan Morris of Port Clyde.
“During the purchase process we heard loud and clear that residents wanted to maintain and enhance access to a working waterfront,” Morris said. “That message was the key guiding principle to our work.”
The process 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.
“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,” Morris said. The committee believes this approach is more cost-effective than 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 20-year period.
The vote by secret ballot is at the town office.
“This project is about preservation of waterfront access, and the creation of potential options for the town and those who use the sea to earn a living,”, said the town’s harbormaster, Dave Schmanska.
“The face of the working waterfront has changed and will continue to change. We don’t know if the future will bring new types of aquaculture, additional harvesting of rock weed, a rebound in ground fishing, or something we haven’t thought of yet. What we do know is that as that face changes, this property will be designed to meet those needs.”
Additional information about the project is at www.stgeorgemaine.com and at the town office.