Sea wall repairs are among several upcoming projects planned for Rockport Harbor and Marine Park.

Other issues requiring attention include filling holes near the sea wall created by erosion, fixing potholes in the parking lot, adding cosmetic pilings, and fencing off the top of the lime kilns to stop visitors from climbing on the aging structures.

The most pressing issue is the failing sea wall at the Goose River entrance to the harbor. The combination of storm water and tidal currents has eroded sediment behind and between the granite wall to the left of the public boat launch, causing it to lean out into the river. Rockport resident and stone mason Owen Casas screwed eye bolts into several of the sturdier granite blocks on either side of the collapsing area and Rockport Public Works ran steel cables between them, but it is unclear whether this temporary fix would provide enough resistance if the wall failed.

Ideally the project could wait until the fall, when the harbor and marine park are not as busy, but Harbormaster Abbie Leonard said it would be prudent to fix the problem quickly. “If [the seawall] goes, it’s going to be a big problem and cost the town more money,” she said.

The repairs, which will likely require some heavy machinery, may affect the boat launch and access to the southeast part of the park, including the bridge across the Goose River to the Rockport Boat Club and Rockport Marine, but Leonard said the work should be done primarily at low tide, lessening the effect on boaters.

Funding for repairs to the wall is included in the harbor budget for this year, and the town is getting ready to send the project out to bid.

Another pressing issue is the large holes on the edges of the lawn by the sea wall. The holes are caused by salt water coming through the wall and eroding the earth beneath the lawn. The holes, which in some places have uncovered electrical wires, present a hazard to visitors.

Public Works most recently filled the holes with gravel two years ago and plans to do the same before the tourist season picks up, but such measures have not stopped the erosion. The town plans to apply for a Shore and Harbor Planning Grant from the Maine Department of Marine Resources for the 2020 fiscal year to help develop a long-term solution to the problem.

There are several large potholes on the edge of the parking lot caused by the same erosion process that is undermining the lawn. The repairs will be handled by Public Works and are included in this year's budget.

The town is also planning to add faux pilings to the sea wall around the park. Leonard said the current pilings are not providing support to the wall and many have been eaten at the base by teredo worms. She said that during storms, the vibrations of the loose, swinging pilings are actually doing damage to the wall. The problem with removing pilings altogether is that they provide a clear barrier for visitors to know where the lawns ends. Leonard said she found used pilings for free in Bar Harbor and plans to cut them and bolt them to the wooden barrier to maintain the appearance of pilings without any of the detrimental effects.

Finally, the town is contemplating ways to ensure that people do not climb on the lime kilns. The kilns can easily be mounted from the entry road to the harbor, but are more than 150 years old and are not structurally sound. The town is considering erecting a fence at the upper edge of the most accessible kiln to guard against any potential liability issues, but officials are concerned about retaining the natural beauty of the historic structures.