BAR HARBOR — By the numbers, a marine facility able to land tender vessels from anchored cruise ships appears to be the preferred future use for the Eden Street ferry terminal property.
The Town Council is facing a decision on whether to exercise an option to purchase the property from the Maine Department of Transportation and under what terms. A public comment meeting on the issue is set for Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 4 p.m. in the Town Council chambers.
According to the final draft of the “matrix” decision tool used by an appointed committee to consider uses of the property, tendering with marine use was the most desirable, scoring 428.5 points. This option includes two tendering docks and floats for a marina.
The town’s ferry terminal advisory committee (FTAC) met Monday to finish work on the matrix. The document is available on the town’s website, along with subcommittee reports.
“We didn’t really have any consensus before we did the matrix,” said Kristi Losquadro, co-chair of the other uses subcommittee. “[This option] adds more possibilities for town revenue.”
She hopes the publication of the matrix will spur conversation among Bar Harbor citizens. “I would hope to get a good turnout [on Nov. 14],” she said. “Our last comment session was very small, and I hope we see more people.”
The town cannot force cruise ships to switch to a new town-owned tendering facility from the privately-owned one currently in use, but the committee hopes the availability of a dedicated tendering facility would prove attractive to the cruise lines.
“We tried to identify what Bar Harbor was missing and tried to mitigate those problems,” said Joe Minutolo, co-chair of the marine use subcommittee. He said he hoped that a tendering dock would “spread the load” of visitors to the island from high congestion points. Small businesses and residents could benefit from recreational opportunities in Frenchman Bay, he said.
“We’re a growing community, but our shoreline isn’t growing,” he said. “The actual shore frontage for public use is small, and we wanted something that the public is empowered by.”
The only option that rivaled the tendering-with-marine-use option was a marine multi-use facility. The latter would support more recreational activities but included an option for tendering.
Other options put through the matrix were a berthing pier, scoring 268 points, and the Maine Department of Transportation not selling the facility. As expected, the DOT not selling the property was the least desirable option with 144 points. An option for Bar Harbor to buy but not develop the property received 207.5 points.