Camden to consider river to harbor walk options
Camden — In an effort to bring Camden to the next level, the town has received a grant to design a river to harbor walk, running from Shirttail Point to Camden Harbor.
The grant will allow a design to be created and also will study which private properties might be involved through easements or alternative locations, said Camden Development Director Brian Hodges. It will also lay out financial projections regarding the cost to build the walk beside Megunticook River.
“It does everything but build the path,” Hodges said. “I plan to do everything but break ground.”
He said a work group will likely be formed to work alongside a paid consultant on the project. The consultant will help determine the cost of creating the walk, Hodges said.
“This will really set Camden apart more than it already is,” he said, adding naming the walk also will likely be a goal. “To only call it a river walk would be short-changing it.”
The $15,000 grant requires a $5,000 match from the town, which will come from the sidewalks and pathways budget, Hodges said in a release.
Talk of a river to harbor walk has been floating around Camden for years, according to Hodges. He said recent work on the Downtown Master Plan brought forward the issue once again. Several past groups have unsuccessfully worked to establish a river walk, including town parks and recreation, the conservation commission and Friends of the Megunticook River, he said.
“There didn't seem to be a groundswell of support but I think through the Downtown Master Plan, it opened the eyes of the community to what a benefit a river walk could be,” Hodges said. “Until now, there's [only] been a passion.”
He noted there not only will be an aesthetic benefit to the town but also a financial one by connecting parts of town together with a pathway and increasing visibility and access. Hodges said “a campus-like” feel has been mentioned regarding future plans for downtown and said a river to harbor walk fits in nicely.
“While working on the Downtown Master Plan, it became apparent to many of the participants that the idea of a river walk promotes an important natural resource but it also presents economic and community development opportunities. 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,” he said in a press release.
According to a general time frame submitted with the grant, public meetings will likely take place in the early spring months. Hodges said anyone interested in the project as part of the work group should contact him at the town office. He said he expects to advertise a request for proposals for consultants in coming weeks.
Courier Publications Associate Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com.