Waterfront forum to be held in Belfast

Posted June 06, 2011, at 9:50 p.m.

BELFAST, Maine — “Is Belfast back to being a working waterfront?” is the title of a forum to be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 11, at the Hutchinson Center. Expected to be on the panel are:

• J.B. Turner of Front Street Shipyard.

• Howie Soule of the Belfast Boat Yard.

• David Black, chairman of the Belfast Harbor Committee and a local fisherman.

• Kathy Messier, Belfast harbormaster.

• Capt. Doug Fournier of Penobscot Bay Tractor Tug Co.

• Todd French of French and Webb Boatbuilders.

The moderator will be Belfast City Manager Joe Slocum.

Just a few years ago, there were many in Belfast who were convinced the future of the city and waterfront was tourism. The city was actively recruiting cruise ships, hoping to move industrial uses into its industrial park, and a proposal was on the table to turn the former Stinson Seafood buildings into shops, a restaurant and condos, with a marina for those purchasing condos.

Now, with the Front Street Shipyard under construction, it appears the focus may be back on having a working waterfront. What does that mean for the city? How does it affect the value of the waterfront property? Will our harbor still be a tourist attraction? What about the cruise ships? Will they still stop here? Will yacht clubs still visit? Will the fishermen and their smelly bait still be welcome?

The forum is sponsored by the Belfast Rotary Club.

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