BAR HARBOR — A new park and sitting area planned for West Street cleared the final hurdle Tuesday when town councilors here unanimously approved the park’s fencing and dimensions. The land is owned by the town and leased by hotel company Ocean Properties. Underground fuel tanks lie under the park.
Eben Salvatore of Ocean Properties said the project, which aims to help remedy pedestrian congestion, will cost the company about $100,000.
Town Manager Cornell Knight said at Tuesday’s Town Council meeting that fencing would cost the town $70,000, to be paid from town park and sidewalk reserves. The fence would be similar to the fence around the town pier.
The draft plan for the park, dubbed “Harborview Park,” includes four two-sided benches and six small, square planters at 1 West St. There also will be three smaller benches, trash cans and a bike rack.
Design plans moved through the Design Review Board on April 26, with minor changes to the draft layout of the proposed park.
The changes to the planters were unanimously accepted by the board, contingent on the benches matching those in parks around downtown and the planters being the same color and finish as the previous planters.
“It’s obviously going to flow better than what’s there,” board member Andrew Geel said. “The benches should match what’s in Agamont Park. It would tie it all in.”
A large planter in the old park layout, said Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Jeff Dobbs, contributed significantly to congestion.
“We asked [Salvatore] to move the tourist information kiosk down further so there wouldn’t be so much of a bottleneck there,” Dobbs said. “Everybody blocks that big planter.”
A sign pointing pedestrians towards attractions will be installed to obscure a large electrical transformer a few feet from the kiosk.
The sidewalk will be wider and extend farther into the street than is currently the case, narrowing West Street somewhat. Councilors amended the plan after hearing concerns that the road might not be wide enough to accommodate emergency vehicles to make the turn up Main Street or left or right down West Street.
“We can make the turn, but we will be in that area with the front bumper of the vehicles,” Fire Chief Matt Bartlett said.
Salvatore said the sidewalk would not be raised, but a different material would show where it separates from the street. He also said it would be designed to be driven on by emergency vehicles if necessary. But he agreed to a modification, with the sidewalks wider than the current ones but not as wide as originally planned.
With the council’s amendment, the road’s width would be shortened only 1 foot, to 23 feet. Councilors also amended the plans to move bollards — protective posts that defend structures from oncoming cars — further from the roadway.
In December, Ocean Properties signed a lease with the town for the fuel tanks that will last 15 years. Salvatore said the lease had a clause requiring Ocean Properties to restore the sidewalk to the same or better condition.