The Town of Camden has been awarded a $15,000 grant to determine the best uses of the Camden Public Landing, located on Camden Harbor. The grant was awarded by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry which oversees the Maine Coastal Program (MCP). It is 1 of 34 coastal programs nationwide and administers several grant funds including the Shore and Harbor Planning Grant program. This program is designed to promote sound waterfront planning and harbor management, balanced development of shore and harbor areas, and advance planning for waterfront infrastructure improvements and access to shore.
The grant requires a local match by the Town of $5,000, which will be funded from Camden’s Economic Development Reserve Fund. When presented to the Camden Select Board on September 17, 2012 by Camden’s Development Director Brian Hodges, the members present gave it their unanimous support. Select Board Chair Martin Cates said the Select Board “was pleased to see this funding opportunity come forward. We were also impressed that this was a team effort between the Town, the Camden Harbor Committee, and the Camden Downtown Network Board.”
Earlier this year, Camden was named “Prettiest Village” and “Prettiest Harbor” as part of DownEast Magazine’s Readers’ Choice awards. Residents and visitors are often seen walking to and around the Public Landing. The area was discussed and highlighted as part of the recently completed Camden Downtown Master Plan. Hodges noted that “While working on the Downtown Master Plan, it became apparent to many of the participants that revisiting the Public Landing was relevant. It is primarily used as a large parking lot. Is that its best use?” A concentrated focus on the Public Landing in the Downtown Master Plan was not included because of the project’s magnitude. However, conceptual designs of a redesigned Public Landing were included, with varying degrees of green space and parking.”
Camden was recently selected to also receive a planning and design grant for a “riverwalk” along the Megunticook River which connects to Camden Harbor. Hodges continued, “A Public Landing which supports parking needs but also creates an inviting atmosphere is worth considering, especially as we begin the design process for a River to Harbor Walk.”
This grant for the Public Landing will be to determine, in part, its best possible uses. Camden Town Manager Patricia Finnigan said the specific outcome has not been decided. “One of the major purposes of the planning and design process will be to involve citizens to explore various options. We want the Public Landing to be useful and attractive to all of our citizens, businesses, and visitors. It is important that this be an area our community will enjoy and be proud of.”
For people who are interested in this project or who would like to be involved, please contact Brian Hodges at firstname.lastname@example.org