March 20, 2018
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Rockland sets public hearing on arts center’s plan for project with a 62-foot largely windowless wall

Courtesy photo | BDN
Courtesy photo | BDN
The Center for Maine Contemporary Art
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — The Rockland Planning Board will hold its formal public hearing April 1 on a proposal by the Center for Maine Contemporary Art to construct an arts center downtown. The proposed project has split the board and public.

The board reviewed the formal application Tuesday night and found that the application was complete. The board will visit the proposed site on Winter Street at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 1. The public hearing will follow at 5:15 p.m., after which the board could vote on the project.

The arts complex has received considerable support from the public but has also drawn some criticism over the design, which includes a 62-foot long wall on Winter Street that has no doors and windows only at the top of the tall wall.

Planning Board member George Terrien issued a statement on the project during Tuesday’s review.

“I fervently hope the applicant will reconsider and present a design that meets the ordinance,” Terrien said.

The ordinance that Terrien was referring to was part of the city’s design law that requires new buildings to have elements characteristic of the predominant architecture of structures on Main Street between Park and Lindsey streets constructed prior to 1941. Therrien said the lack of windows and doors for 62 feet does not meet that requirement, saying there was no other similar architecture on Main Street.

The 61-year-old nonprofit arts center has been located in Rockport for decades but announced in May it wanted to join the thriving art scene in downtown Rockland. The arts center board announced it was in the midst of a $4 million campaign to raise money to relocate.

The new proposed center consists of a 12,143-square-foot building.


Correction: In a previous version of this story, planning board member George Terrien's last name was misspelled.

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