In a community with more than 60 percent of the available land already preserved by Acadia National Park and where small pocket parks abound throughout the downtown, it might seem unnecessary to advocate for one more.
But the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association’s (VIA) push to create a small “welcome” park at the corner of Mount Desert and Eden streets makes perfect sense. And the organization is not asking for taxpayers to fund the project; it is putting its money where its priorities are.
In recent years, the town has engaged in a major effort to create a sense of arrival for our seasonal visitors. An attractive and helpful series of wayfinding signs have been installed, with much of the funding coming from cruise ship passenger fee revenue.
The ongoing rebuild of Route 3 will further enhance the arrival experience. An associated multi-use path will help connect the downtown with hotels and homes the entire length of Eden Street, encouraging greater access by walkers and those on bicycles.
The proposed park location is the perfect place for a way-station, for those walking or biking to pause and refresh themselves, especially if that kind of activity increases with the possible development of the former Bluenose ferry terminal property for use by cruise ship passengers. The proposed park would occupy the site of the historic DeGregoire Hotel, burned in the Great Fire of 1947, also a stop on the town’s Museum in the Streets circuit.
Emera Maine has invested considerable resources disguising a major electrical substation nearby to resemble a period carriage house. The area currently is choked with invasive Chinese knotweed and used to stockpile discarded construction and landscaping materials.
An attractive park, in a location not really suited for construction of a major commercial or residential structure, makes perfect sense.