Sidewalk talk dominated discussion for Boothbay Harbor selectmen June 10. Selectman Denise Griffin contacted two engineering firms on a new sidewalk for Atlantic Avenue. One was Baker Design Consultants which is also working on the footbridge and Fish Pier projects. The engineer suggested a feasibility study the firm could provide for under $5,000 and would include a kickoff meeting with the public, assembly of mapping and surveys, development of three conceptual plans, coordination with construction firms and other entities, and presentation of concepts to the public.
Selectman Wendy Wolf asked what the town would gain that it did not get with the survey Leighton and Associates performed on rights of way. The survey sketch showed concern that rights of way will be hard to get.
Griffin spoke with several of the landowners along Atlantic Avenue. She said half are likely to give the town the land.
“To kind of move forward and decide how to go and how quickly to go, we kind of need this work done, so I think this makes sense,” Griffin said.
Resident Tom Minerich said he was stunned the board would not consider areas like Union Street and Oak Street as a test for safer foot traffic. He said Boothbay Harbor needs a more holistic approach.
Wolf and Chairman Mike Tomko said the intention is to begin somewhere and Atlantic Avenue has been discussed for some time. In the possible harbor master plan, the board is considering a range of topics including sidewalks and crosswalks, an issue in several parts of town, said Wolf.
“I hate to open this can of worms, but the next time the state paves downtown, we're going to lose some very crucial crosswalks down there because many of them do not comply with their requirements … so as soon as I understand when they're paving, I will be resigning,” Town Manager Tom Woodin jested.
The best thing to do would be to invite Maine Department of Transportation to a meeting to discuss the sidewalk and crosswalk issues, said Woodin. The board voted unanimously to pursue an Atlantic Avenue sidewalk feasibility study with Baker Design Consultants.
Wolf asked about the state of the bidding process for the Route 27 project after Woodin asked the board to move matching funds to the basketball and pickleball court project. The sidewalk project is in the middle of a bidding process, which eliminates a portion of the project involving conduit for possible future lighting – a $100,000 cost – and extends the schedule for work, Wolf revealed.
“… If we have the funding and the right estimate, the sidewalk would be able to be approved and that does require us to have the local match on hand,” said Wolf. “If we are in the middle of bids coming in right now, I would be very hesitant to do anything to affect the local match amount …”
She said project manager and Boothbay Town Manager Dan Bryer told her there are two potential bidders. Bryer has high hopes there will be more potential bidders, Wolf said.
Other news and announcements
Selectmen approved an application for Heidi's Hot Dogs to operate a food cart at 14 House Hill Road. The business was tabled from last meeting to receive further information from the applicant.
Preliminary painting has taken place on the basketball and pickleball courts adjacent to the Route 27 Boothbay Region High School parking lot, and the area has been closed to allow the primer to cure, Woodin said. Crews will finish the striping on the next nice day.
Selectmen approved the 2019-2020 fee schedule with a couple changes in mooring fees and parking fees.
Griffin suggested the town should only raise residential mooring fees to $50 per year instead of $60. Wolf suggested the non-residents and association fee could be increased to $80 from its current $60 per year. While Griffin said both recommendations would be acceptable, Woodin reminded the board the term “residents” simply refers to taxpayers and likely amounts to 90% of moorings.
The board approved the fee schedule with both changes as well as increases to fees in several categories of illegal parking.
Unspent finances carried forward by unanimous vote included $31,861.56 from the Joint Economic Development Committee and $25,999.10 from professional services. The board also approved $521.61 in personal property write-offs.
All municipal appointees and committee members were reappointed. Also, James Farrin and Dave Racicot were appointed to the Board of Appeals and Leslie Bird to the Budget Committee.