Both need and opportunity.
The City-owned piers, seawall, and support facilities that Rockland and the region depend on for commercial and recreational harbor access are old, and at the point where repairs alone aren't enough.
The infrastructure is also at risk. Water already comes over the seawall in large storms. And when we consider models for expected sea level rise - we realize that some of our infrastructure should be up to 4 feet higher - and that involves redesign.
Redesigning for resilience is also an opportunity to include things the community has talked about for years - such as the extension of the Boardwalk, more green space, terraced seating in the hillside, and better pedestrian connections to the downtown.
And with new federal funding opportunities for infrastructure there may be a once in a lifetime opportunity for grants to help fund the improvements.
Above: Collage of photo-realistic renderings showing the proposed boardwalk and pier improvements.
Conceptual Design and Road Map Completed.
The Conceptual Design balances diverse uses, builds in flexibility, and incorporates ideas from the community and various plans - both past and present. While it was modified in some ways during preliminary engineering in response to stakeholder input and technical design considerations, the project remains close to the original vision.
It was made possible by a $30,000 planning grant from the Maine Coastal Program.
Preliminary Engineering (30%)
Preliminary engineering for the marine infrastructure (piers, seawall, and boardwalk) was completed in spring 2023, and preliminary engineering for landside infrastructure was completed in the fall of 2023.
The projects were made possible by two Community Action Grants of $50,000 each.
Permitting for the Marine infrastructure is underway and is planned to be completed by spring 2024. This will make the project close to "shovel ready," which will be helpful for federal grant applications.
The City has requested $4 million in Congressionally Directed Spending to help with the implementation of Phase 1 of the Downtown Waterfront Project - Middle Pier and Buoy Park. This area was selected as the highest priority because of the poor condition of Middle Pier following impacts from the December 2022 storm. While it is too soon to know if the grant request will be successful, it has the support of both of Maine's Senators, and the project has been included in the relevant Senate appropriations bill.
The City has also requested assistance from the Maine Department of Transportation, which has committed $250,000 to the project in its 2025 work plan.