On Thursday, June 23 at 7 p.m. in the Rockland City Hall Council Chambers, 270 Pleasant St. in Rockland, the City of Rockland will be holding a public workshop on the Rockland Harbor Trail Master Plan and Map route.

The workshop is sponsored by Wright-Pierce Engineers of Topsham, Rockland Community Development Department, Rockland Harbor Trail Committee, Rockland Main Street, Inc., and the Mid-Coast Regional Planning Commission. Presenting the plan will be Jennifer Claster, Landscape Architect, Wright-Pierce Engineers and Community Development Director Rodney Lynch, AICP.

Purpose of the workshop is to obtain public input into the plan before it is presented to the City Council for adoption. The idea of constructing a Harbor Trail in Rockland was first raised by an international conservation study of the Penobscot Bay region in 1991. This was followed by formation of the Rockland Harbor Trail Coalition which produced a vision map of the trail and began to work on acquiring easements and finding funding for the trail. Participants included former Mayor Robert Peabody and former City Councilor Patrick Reilly. But In 1995 the project was set aside. In 2000-2001 the idea was resurrected by then City Councilor Joe Steinberger who sponsored the formation of the Ad Hoc Cross-town Bicycle Path Committee and who also served on the Committee. The committee produced the 2003 Interim Mini-Bike Pathway Planning Study.

The Harbor Trail routes were further refined in the adopted 2005 and 2009 Downtown Revitalization Plan Updates. In the meantime segments of the Harbor Trail were constructed including the MBNA Boardwalk, Sandy Beach and Lermond Cove. In late 2010, Wright-Pierce began working with the City’s Community Development Department and Waste Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Terry Pinto on a no-fee basis to develop a comprehensive Harbor Trail Master Plan that brings together the prior planning efforts and links together various completed segments of the Harbor Trail into a single document that charts the Trail’s future and maps the trail route from Snow Marine Park in the South End to the Breakwater in the north end of the harbor along with how to pay for the construction of the remaining segments without burdening the taxpayers. By evaluating site conditions, refining the Trail’s proposed route, and developing design standards for each unfinished segment of the trail, it has been possible to provide cost estimates and trail completion strategies that can be used in developing applications for local, state and federal funding. Integral to the plan will be the financial plan without which there will be no trail.

The Master Plan document will move the trail’s completion one step closer to realization. Although focused on Rockland, the plan’s concepts can be used by other Midcoast communities who are invited to attend.