Camden awarded grant to plan, design river walk

Nov 01, 2012

Camden — The town of Camden has been awarded a $15,000 grant to plan and design a river to harbor walk connecting Shirttail Point Park to Camden Harbor.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry oversees the Maine Coastal Program. The MCP was created in 1978 and is a federal, state, local partnership under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. It is one of 34 coastal programs nationwide and administers several grant funds including the Coastal Communities grant program. This grant program is designed to improve water quality, increase resiliency/adaptation to erosion and flooding, conserve coastal habitat, promote sustainable development, and enhance the coastal-dependent economy while preserving natural coastal resources.

The grant requires a local match by the town of $5,000, which will be funded from Camden’s Sidewalks and Pathways budget. When presented to the Camden Select Board on Sept. 17 by Camden’s Development Director Brian Hodges, the members present gave it their unanimous support. Select Board Chairman Martin Cates said the Select Board “was pleased to see this funding opportunity come forward. We were also impressed that this was a team effort between the town and the Camden-Rockport Pathways Committee, Downtown Network Board, and Camden Conservation Commission.”

A riverwalk has been discussed in Camden for a number of years. It was highlighted in the recently completed Camden Downtown Master Plan. Hodges noted that “while working on the Downtown Master Plan, it became apparent to many of the participants that the idea of a riverwalk promotes an important natural resource, but it also presents economic and community development opportunities.” Hodges continued, “A river to harbor walk would facilitate greater access between our neighborhoods and downtown, and would also connect the various sections of our downtown to one another, culminating at Camden Harbor.”

The Megunticook River traverses through Camden, often times bordering private properties along its way. The planning and design grant will be used, in part, to determine the best possible location for a river to harbor walk. Camden Town Manager Patricia Finnigan said the specific location of the trail has not been decided. “One of the major purposes of the planning and design process will be to involve citizens to explore various options. We want the river to harbor walk to be a popular trail that the community will use and be proud of.”

For people who are interested in this project or who would like to be involved, please contact Brian Hodges at bhodges@camdenmaine.gov.

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