Improvement at Rockport's Harbor Park have come to a virtual stand-still while the town continues to await permits and funding from the state.

“This is an example of free money not actually being free,” said Town Manager Richard Bates Aug. 11 during a select board meeting. “Most of the improvements should have been completed by now, but we are actually still in the permitting stage – there have been a crazy amount of hoops to jump through.”

Some of the improvements had been made in the spring with tree clearing and the construction of the floats through other grants, private donations and local volunteer labor.

Bates continued by thanking local fishermen for help on the commercial side of the harbor and said with their help the town has been able to move a fuel tank and increase the number of parking spots on that side of the harbor.

“The locals that use the commercial side of the harbor have been great and with their help we were able to move some things around and improve the usefulness of that side of the harbor,” he said.

The plan now, according to Bates, is to continue moving forward as the electrical contract has been awarded to C.C. Electric of Herman for the lighting project and continue to work toward its completion in time for the 2015 boating season.

A major project being held up is the insertion of new dolphin pilings to anchor four 10-by-20-foot floats that will increase both dinghy tie-ups on the inside and space for recreational boaters to tie-up on the outside. These new floats will be located at the head of the main harbor adjacent the harbormaster's office.

In the grant application, then-town planner Bill Najpauer explained the increase of space will allow for up to 25 dinghies to be tied up on the dock. Because of limited space for tenders in the past, the town is not able to increase the number of moorings in its harbor. With the additional space for dinghy tie-ups, the town can increase by the same number of moorings in its harbor.

The town is waiting on awarding of money through the Small Harbor Improvement Program [SHIP], which is a grant awarded by the state to promote economic development, public access, improved commercial fishing opportunities and works to preserve, and create, infrastructure at facilities in tidewater and coastal municipalities, according to

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.