A festival celebrating a new waterfront park on Boothbay Harbor’s east side attracted roughly 300 people on Sunday, Aug.18. Held at the current site of Cap’n Fish’s Motel on Atlantic Avenue, the free event was open for the public to experience the future Boothbay Harbor Eastside Waterfront Park, which will open in 2020.
Barbecue ribs, pulled pork and all the fixings were provided by the Cod Fish Head Restaurant and music was performed by local favorites, the Holy Mackerels.
Organizers from Boothbay Harbor Waterfront Preservation invited the public to experience the location and the view from the new multi-function park which will occupy the location next year.
“We heard discussions throughout our neighborhood about the attempt to buy the property and make it public,” said David Flannigan, who lives on Summit Road and attended the event with his wife Ann. “As a family who has been coming to Boothbay Harbor for 50 years, and has just recently become full-time residents, this is the right thing to do for both residents and tourism.”
Boothbay Harbor Waterfront Preservation president Ken Fitch was pleased with the makeup of the crowd. “Most of the folks I’ve met are either full-time or long-time Boothbay Harbor summer residents, and they were genuinely excited that we intend to preserve the town’s connection with the water.”
Future plans call for free waterfront access, a concert pavilion, apprentice fishing and lobstering program, short-term boat docking and a children’s splash pad, all within a short walk of the footbridge. In addition, a general store will be opened in an existing building to provide east side residents and boaters food, beverages and basic supplies. The Cod Fish Head restaurant will continue to operate on the property.
“My boss at Mama D’s restaurant told me about this event,” said Boothbay Harbor resident Duane Lewis. “This park will be good for residents, summer people and area businesses. I’m going to donate $125 at the end of the month to do my part.”
Dennis and Jane Soule drove over from Wiscasset to attend. “We came here because I grew up in Boothbay, and used to work at the Eastside Market,” said Jane. “We think this park is going to be awesome.”
Holy Mackerels band member Mark Stover spoke about why he and his band mates — Scott Elliott and Paul D’Alessio — donated their two-hour performance to the cause. “I’m a lifelong Boothbay Harbor resident,” he said. “It will be so great to have a waterfront park on the east side of the harbor. Public access to the water is crucial to our town.”
Southport residents Sandip and Mari Tiwari first heard of the waterfront park through a brochure they received in the mail. “Then we started our research,” Sandip said. “Look at the view of the harbor from the hill. It’s beautiful. It will be the one place where children can come and play near the water.”