BAR HARBOR — Two public meetings are planned for July 17 and July 24 by Louis Ajamil, the town’s consultant working on a business plan for maritime uses of the former international ferry terminal.
Ajamil is working under a contract that was funded jointly by the town, the Maine Port Authority and the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.
“The agenda is very broad,” Town Manager Cornell Knight said. “It’s essentially a listening session by this consultant. The idea is to get comments from the public, then come back in a week and present what he heard, and get a reaction from the public on that.”
The meetings are scheduled to run from 6-8 p.m. at the Municipal Building on Cottage Street.
The Maine Department of Transportation is the current owner of the property and hopes to sell it to the town. In May, the Town Council approved an exclusive purchase option agreement. Town officials must decide by November whether to exercise the option.
The price is $2.5 million, or $2 million if at the time of the exercise of the option, the town has “developed a formally approved viable business plan” and has “a developer and/or funding committed to the implementation of the business plan,” according to the language of the option agreement.
“The business plan will define the way that the financing of the facility can be achieved and the types of activities and approaches to assure the parties that this is realistic,” Ajamil wrote in a strategy memo earlier this year that the council voted to adopt. After the business planning phase, the strategy includes defining planning parameters, market sensing, detailed planning and visioning and a final town vote in June of 2018 on whether to acquire the property.
“Market sensing in when you go out and say, ‘This is what we want to do. Is there a market for it? Is there a market for developers?’” Town Council Chair Paul Paradis said. “It’s gauging interest from developers, cruise lines or both. In some cases, cruise lines develop their own piers, but that seems very unlikely here because we have very diverse traffic.”