BAR HARBOR — Master plans for a new town ferry terminal may be in the works, but a project start date is up in the air.
On Monday, the Harbor Committee held a kickoff meeting with engineering firm GEI Consultants, who are tasked with data collection and developing design concepts to replace the dilapidated pier at 121 Eden St.
“It is definitely going to be a long-term project,” said newly elected Harbor Committee Chair Jeff Miller. “The first thing is we’ve got to get rid of what’s there. And that’s not going to be cheap.”
After GEI found a majority of the pilings to be in “poor” or “critical” condition during pier inspections, the Town Council voted last July to demolish the existing infrastructure. That order of business is still on hold pending final plans.
Once GEI submits a finalized plan next December, the town can move forward when it has sourced funding for the marina costing upwards of $14 million, which may take several more years.
One viable finance option may be through grant funding. The town was successful in capturing part of a Shore and Harbor Planning Grant Program through a division of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, which helped support project plans for the property.
“There’s money out there,” Miller said.
For now, GEI will begin engaging stakeholders and hearing public feedback to build consensus around a final master plan. Those plans may include a berth for The CAT ferry, recreational vessel and megayacht slips, and uses for small cruise ships, tenders and commercial fishing boats.
The original facility was constructed in 1956 for the Bluenose as a ferry terminal, which is no longer in operation. Miller said the town bought the property in 2018 to have another point of public shore access.
Currently, the pier is closed to the public due to its condition.