Grant Park redo gets the go-ahead

BAR HARBOR — A roughly $200,000 project to relandscape Grant Park at the end of Albert Meadow is set to go out to bid, following Town Council approval of the design this week. The Village Improvement Association will contribute $30,000 towards the cost.

The work includes extending a water main in order to install an irrigation system in the park, some grading to smooth out an area that used to sport a tennis court, new benches and picnic tables, and stone steps down to the shore on either side of a new, small amphitheater space with benches.

Councilor Gary Friedmann asked whether adding irrigation would be worth the investment, because the park has never been irrigated before.

“Whenever we have tackled renovating a park, making it green is always a big issue,” Parks and Recreation Committee Chair Jeff Dobbs said. “Irrigation has really enhanced the Village Green, and now it’s regularly listed as one of the best parks in the country.”

The new benches and many of the plantings will match what’s in the Village Green and Agamont Park, Dobbs said.

The grading will not change the view of the water from the parking lot, he said. “It’s a view park. A lot of elderly residents drive down and park and look at the view.”

The plan includes two fixed picnic tables, one of which will be wheelchair accessible, on a small area near the water surfaced with concrete pavers. Public Works Director Chip Reeves said the picnic tables there now are movable. His crew sometimes finds them down on the rocks on the shore.

The plan does not involve adding lighting to the park, he said, because the town and the neighbors do not want to encourage night use.

The walking path on the south side of the park will be narrowed somewhat, to make it clear that it is not accessible to vehicles. An existing access road on the north side, leading to a generator and sewer pump station, will be improved.

Councilor Matt Hochman asked about whether electricity is available for events, such as a recent Shakespeare production held there. Reeves said there are some outlets, but not enough capacity for full theatrical lighting or sound.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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