BAR HARBOR — Ideas to improve the aesthetics of Cottage Street were discussed Tuesday at a kickoff meeting of the Cottage Street Streetscape Project.
The Cruise Ship Committee approved $25,000 from cruise ship passenger fees earlier this year to fund the conceptual design and cost estimates of an improved streetscape for the entire half-mile length of the street.
A request for proposals was released Aug. 26. Three engineering and landscape architecture firms responded with proposals and were interviewed earlier this month.
The town selected Bar Harbor design firm Lark Studio to lead the project.
Mike Rogers, who joined with Rob Krieg to form Lark, said the project would include consideration of sidewalks, crosswalks, utilities, paving materials, bump-outs, trees, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, lighting and benches.
The group agreed that moving electrical lines underground would be desirable, but very expensive.
Other concerns were bicycle parking and lanes and large curb cuts that interrupt the sidewalk pedestrian way.
“It’s going to be a challenge to balance streetscape improvements with preserving parking spaces,” said Sam Coplon, whose landscape design firm has had an office on Cottage Street for many years.
Planning Board member Basil Eleftheriou first brought the streetscaping proposal to the Planning Board and Town Council last winter and also met with Public Works Director Chip Reeves. Councilors were supportive of the concept, saying these improvements may be more urgent than some other pending park improvements.
Reeves said it would be best to time the work to coincide with water and other infrastructure improvements that are planned for after the completion of the Route 3 reconstruction.
Passenger fees collected by the town from visiting cruise ships are required to be used for projects related to the visitor experience.