MOUNT DESERT — The non-profit Mount Desert Community Development Corporation (CDC) has unveiled detailed plans for a “promenade park” along the top of the cliff above the Town Hall in Northeast Harbor.
The long, narrow park would be on the side of the municipal parking lot that overlooks the harbor, and it would include improved access down the cliff to the village green and marina.
The civil engineering firm CES, Inc. developed the design plans for the park, which the CDC paid for with tax-deductible private donations. The CDC also intends to build the park entirely with private funds. The park would be on town-owned land, and the town’s acceptance of it would have to be approved by voters at town meeting.
The CDC was formed two years ago by a group of year-round and seasonal residents. Its mission is to improve the “vitality and livability” of the town through “enhancement of public spaces, infrastructure improvements, preservation of historic structures and other efforts that shape the character of the community.”
Dan McKay, treasurer of the CDC, and Travis Noyes, executive vice president of CES, described plans for the promenade park at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting Monday night.
Noyes said the walkway through the park would be five feet wide, with plants and trees alongside it and a few benches placed to take advantage of the view of the harbor. A low fence that Noyes said would be both decorative and for safety would be installed between the walkway and the edge of the cliff.
The focal point of the park would be a 17-by-23-foot granite pavilion at the southern end.
“After going through several concept designs, we took inspiration from [a pavilion] at Thuya Garden and essentially designed around that,” Noyes said.
“The pavilion will be in a location that is really critical because it’s where you can see it from Main Street.”
From the pavilion, a redesigned walkway with granite stairs at the top and wooden ones down lower will lead down the cliff toward the harbor.
All four selectmen at Monday’s meeting made favorable comments about the plans for the promenade park.
“My enthusiasm level is very high,” Rick Mooers said. “This shows incredible promise.”
Matt Hart said, “There’s an opportunity here to improve the physical and visual link between Main Street and the harbor, which is something we’ve been talking about forever, it seems.
“Everything [about the plan] sounds good, especially the concept of private dollars.”
McKay said the CDC doesn’t yet have an estimate of the cost of building the park.
“Because we haven’t raised the money nor have we gotten bids from contractors, some of this [design] will be subject to revision if we have to do that to make the dollars work,” he said.
A promenade park along the top of the cliff is a key component of phase two of the Northeast Harbor Village Center Plan, which was developed three years ago. Phase one is the Main Street improvement project, which began this spring, paused for the summer and is to be completed in the fall of 2020.