Harbor improvements make over landing, park
Rockport — Rockport Harbor has been bustling with activity in recent weeks, with upgrades to lighting, tree removal and the construction of new docks taking place in preparation for the busy summer season.
“There are lots of improvements happening down here,” Harbormaster Abbie Leonard said. “Right now there is a lot of tree cutting and trimming in an attempt to open up the lime kilns and clean everything up. It looks a lot nicer and it will allow for work to be done to, and around, the kilns to make it safer.”
With help of grants, private donations and the carpentry skills of the public works department, nearly 120 linear feet of recreational dockage and an additional 60-plus feet of commercial docks are being constructed, she said.
“We are building floats for the commercial side of the harbor at public works and we have pilings for the commercial side out to bid and hopes to have those driven in the next month,” she said. “We are waiting on the state to finalize the budget so that we can get moving on our SHIP grant project which will put new floats and pilings on the Marine Park side of the harbor.”
A SHIP -- Small Harbor Improvement Program -- grant is a state grant that promotes economic development, public access, improved commercial fishing opportunities and works to preserve, and create, infrastructure at facilities in tidewater and coastal municipalities, according to maine.gov. The SHIP program assists municipalities in improving or creating facilities, such as; public wharves, piers, landings and boat ramps. There is a required 50 percent local share required, which Rockport officials approved in February.
Other improvements being made are upgrades to the electrical system that will run power lines underground and bring power to the floats at dockside.
“Fingers crossed that will be happening soon,” she said.” We are in the process of doing the electrical specs for burying all of the overhead power lines and installing new lights and bringing power to the floats.”
Leonard said, with any luck, the entire project should be complete before the end of June.
With a new look going into the summer season, Harbor Park also will be the site of a one-day festival to celebrate the “good life.”
The July 5 event -- billed as the first Village Festival: A Celebration of the good life in Rockport -- will include a day-long schedule of family-friendly events such as a lobster crate race, stand-up paddle boarding demonstrations, a blind-folded dingy rowing contest and the first ever “Dunk the Board” dunk tank that will give festival-goers a change to sink members of the select board and the town manager.
Leonard also said there will be music and food will be supplied by local mobile food vendors.
“It is going to be a great time, that allows the chance for residents to celebrate the good life we have here in our own little spot on the coast,” she said.
Dwight Collins is a reporter/photographer for The Camden Herald.
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