Community members have had lots to say about the Waterfront Re-development over the years. The process started back in 2005 when the Town adopted the Waterfront Plan. Then in 2014, through both the comprehensive planning process and CMP/Waterfront TIF District process, we heard that the townspeople wanted to see the Waterfront Plan implemented. The Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2014, recommends that the Town implement Waterfront Plan. Also adopted in 2014, the CMP/Riverfront TIF Program allocates for up to $75,000 for the transitioning of the property, as it is underutilized given the area’s potential for recreation-based economic development.
With final approval of the move of Public Works in March on 2018, the Comprehensive Planning Committee issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for landscape architects to provide more details to the great ideas from the community. The RFP asks for more detailed drawings of ideas collected through time, estimated costs, and identification of permitting requirements while considering continuity with Mailly Park and long term maintenance responsibilities.
The Town hired Richardson & Associates in partnership with Baker Design Consultants to develop a Master Site Plan for the redevelopment of the public works waterfront property! As part of the project the consultants:
- Developed an inventory of all existing data (aerial topography, floodplain, wetlands, shoreland zoning, etc.).
- Developed Master Site Plan for the redevelopment of the property, showing context and connectivity within the town and other town owned waterfront properties.
We began the process, with a short survey to gather input to help guide the consultant’s designs. It is interesting that the input has been quite consistent from 2005 for the original Waterfront Plan. Then we held our first Public Meeting on Thursday, September 20th at 6pm at Town Hall. At that meeting about fifty community members joined Comprehensive Planning Committee (CPC) members for the first public viewing of three draft plans. Richardson and Associates, Landscape Architects and Baker Design Consultants, Design Engineers described options for safety, for prevention of erosion of the site, and of course ways to use the area for recreation from children’s play areas, a non-motorized boat launch, to an open-air pavilion for picnics and family gatherings, bird watching, and of course hiking/walking and enjoying the wonderful views of the Cathance River and more.
Based on the feedback we received at the meeting and through an online survey, Richardson & Associates prepared an updated Conceptual Design along with a phased development approach that they presented at our second Public Meeting on Wednesday, November 7th at 6pm at Bowdoinham
Community School. About 30 members of the community and representatives from the Select Board and Comprehensive Planning Committee (CPC) attended. A general overview of potential funding was also briefly addressed and may include grants; donations of time, money, materials; bonds; allocations from the town budget and other strategies over time.
The majority of the people present registered their approval of the overall plan and that the work would be phased. There was discussion about importance, phase for completion, and costs of several specific elements of the plan with much focus on the kayak/non-motorized boat launching ramp; designated swimming area; and the pavilion including possible reuse/repurposing of the public works garage versus new construction, and if new construction, the best location for a pavilion. One outcome of the meeting was that construction of the kayak launching ramp was moved to Phase I.
There was much discussion about the designated swimming area because of both high interest and concerns that it will be difficult, costly and perhaps impossible to build a completely safe facility. Following up on this discussion, the Consultants were asked to provide a proposal for studying the problem in more detail along with the cost of doing so. On November 13th, during their regular meeting, the CPC reviewed both the Consultants’ response regarding the swimming area and the possible reuse of the public works garage as a pavilion. After much discussion and review, recommendations from the CPC to the Select Board on November 27th were:
- a designated swimming area in the park should not be included in the master plan,
- the public works garage should be demolished as the facility was not worth saving, and
- further discussion with the consultants is needed regarding the location of a pavilion.
Once a decision was made not to re-purpose the public works garage, the problem of just where to site a new pavilion needed to be answered. So the Comprehensive Planning Committee (CPC) asked the consultants to do a Pavilion Study to help them answer the outstanding questions. On December 11th, the CPC met with the Consultants to review and discuss the pavilion study. At the meeting, the committee agreed that they preferred a location in-between those shown in the study.
With the guidance from the public meetings and CPC, the consultants completed the Master Site Plan. The final plan was presented to the Committee at their February 12th meeting. Now the Committee is excited to share the new Master Site Plan for the waterfront with you!
Please join the the CPC on Wednesday, March 27th at 6:30th and/or Saturday, March 30th at 9:30am to review and discuss this Master Site Plan in the Kendall Room of the John C. Coombs Municipal Building, 13 School St.
The Committee will also be holding two meetings at the site, to give the community an opportunity to tour the property. You are invited to join the CPC on Saturday, May 18th from 11am to 1pm and Monday, May 20th from 5pm to 7pm to tour this waterfront property.