SOUTHWEST HARBOR—A three-quarters of a million dollar plan to create a waterfront park at the Manset Dock with space for both commercial and recreational boaters, as well as those looking to enjoy public green space next to the ocean, has the support of the town’s Harbor Committee.
Selectmen asked committee chairman Anne Napier what was needed from them during their April 13 meeting where the plan was presented. “What we’d love to have you do is cheer us on and stay tuned for further developments,” she said.
Plans created by CES Engineering — now operating as Haley Ward — for reconstruction of the Manset Dock property, as well as what is commonly called the Hook Property, outline a project that is estimated to cost $750,000. They include permits for construction on the waterfront including fill to the mid-tide line, creating green space that includes a picnic area along the shore, a new harbormaster’s office with two wheelchair accessible bathrooms, a walkway from the picnic area to the restrooms, landscaping, a kayak launching area and parking.
The Hook Property is a .38–acre piece of property purchased by the town in 2018 after nearly 25 years of leasing it for waterfront use from the owners.
At least two grants are being pursued to help with the cost and they will require matching funds from the town. Using money in a town reserve account, grant funds and some in–kind labor and supplies from town departments, Napier estimates $350,000 may be the amount requested from taxpayers. But it could be two to three years before grant money is available for the project.
“He encouraged us to have it as shovel ready as possible because grant money is a couple of years down the road,” Napier explained to selectmen, referring to engineer Chip Reeves, who created the design. Shovel ready includes having all permits needed for the project secured, as well as a vote in favor of bonding funds from residents.
“We felt that everyone should have the option for some use of it whether they are involved in the water or not,” said Napier about the design that offers something for everyone. “We felt that that was important because tax money was used for the property and will be used to improve it.”