Rockland panel hears about marine grant

Posted May 05, 2009, at 9:51 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — City councilors had their first chance at Monday night’s special agenda-setting meeting to hear about a grant proposal in the pipeline for Rockland Marine, and they liked what they heard.

The full-service marine vessel yard has three railways it uses now, and a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant would help expand the carrying capacity of one of them. It also would generate seven new jobs.

“Rockland Marine is flourishing,” said Chris Shrum of Eastern Maine Development Corp., which is working toward the company’s expansion. “This renovation will allow them to grow their business in a way that is unprecedented in the region. It’s one of these win-win scenarios.”

The city must formally apply for the Economic Development Program Grant, and the proposal will have a public hearing at next Monday’s regular meeting.

Councilors gave an enthusiastic reception to Rockland Marine CEO Perry Holmes.

“I’m really excited. I think this is great,” said Councilor Thomas Molloy.

Councilor Brian Harden agreed.

“It’s been a long-stated goal of the community to preserve our working waterfront,” he said.

In other business, the council voted after a long discussion to approve $11,500 for the first phase of the design for the downtown pocket park at Winslow-Holbrook Square. That includes the engineering study, putting down a sculpture pad for artworks on loan from the Farnsworth Museum, and erecting a fence behind the park.

Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson expressed doubts about the merits of spending money to design plans without enough certain funds to finish the projects.

“It seems as though around the city of Rockland we have many, many, many of these plans which we’ve paid a lot of money for,” she said.

But Rockland Community Development Director Rodney Lynch said the perception wasn’t accurate in terms of his department.

“We have a very good record in Rockland,” he said.

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