Knox VillageSoup

News Feature May 03, 2018

Yachting Solutions CEO sees opportunities, benefits from proposed harbor changes

Rockland — Yachting Solutions Inc. CEO Bill Morong said Harbor Park could be the greatest asset the city has, a gem in the community that could attract more business activities and festivals.

Yachting Solutions seeks to expand its marina and collaborate with the city to make infrastructure improvements and changes in the area around the city's public landing. It is working with several others in this project.

Those changes would result in increased docking space and the ability to attract larger yachts to the area. It would also mean relocating some of the moorings and could interfere with the South Channel.

Morong wants those who oppose the plan to know he and his team have been listening and are working to address their concerns. He has met with members of the group opposing the plan, which is called SHIP (Sensible Harbor Infrastructure Plan). He said the two areas of key concern that he has been hearing loud and clear are the South Channel and the visual effect of the plan on the waterfront.

However, he sees it as unfortunate that people are not looking at the value in creating additional protection for the inner harbor with wave breakers, not to mention the economic boon he believes the project could be to the city.

"I think anytime you're bringing some prosperity to a city and you're improving infrastructure, it's going to be felt in every restaurant and every store and small businesses," he said April 30 in an interview in the VillageSoup TV studio.

His company received a federal grant as part of its plans for a marina expansion. Morong said it made sense to see if there were other projects in the city that were needed and whether there was an opportunity for collaboration.

He said the main pier has been structurally condemned and the city has a flood plain issue. In addition, during festivals, access to the yacht club, and for boaters generally, can be difficult. The concept plan would expand the boardwalk all the way past Buoy Park, move the harbormaster's office and yacht club to Buoy Park and create a dedicated middle pier for small cruise ships.

He said the harbor could be busier and it could accommodate the same traffic it sees seasonally throughout the year. He sees an increased opportunity for day sail traffic.

He acknowledged the plan displaces some moorings, which would be redirected to another place. He added that the mooring field is not organized for efficiency or to avoid problems. The moorings could be reconfigured into a better layout, he said.

The City Council will decide whether to work with the company on plans for Harbor Park. The Planning Board will vote on the marina expansion. It also needs Army Corps. of Engineers and DEP approval, making the entire approval process about a year long.

Morong said in that time he is hoping the community and developers can come together and develop a plan that everyone can approve.

"People made the assumption that the concept presented was set in stone," he said. "We're really receptive to public input and making modifications to the plan."

Watch the video to see the whole interview.

Editor's Note: This interview was conducted before Morong went before the Rockland Planning Board on May 1 and discussed the possibility of building without a permit. Links to that story and other related stories appear below.

Comments (1)
Posted by: DAVID FELCH | May 03, 2018 20:07

He's really receptive to public comment as long it is along his terms. Talking about improving the waterfront is nothing but a smoke screen for his true motives  Moving private moorings" to be redirected to some other place" and taking out the south channel. Since when has he become an overnight expert on the placement of moorings? And why does the city have to look l to a private entity to help them develop Harbor Park when the one that would gain the most is Yachting Solutions and the high-rollers that back them. But then again maybe it could be built without a permit. Now that's a thought!!

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