ROCKLAND, Maine — The largest donation the city has received will help bridge a gap in the Rockland Harbor Trail.
The $102,000 donation is being used to construct a 60-foot-long pedestrian bridge that will span the outlet of Lindsey Brook in the rear of Main Street’s business block.
The donor’s identity is not being released because the donor wanted to remain anonymous, Interim Rockland City Manager Audra Caler Bell said. This was the largest monetary donation the city has ever received, she said.
The donor approached the city this summer and the city commissioned the design and construction of the bridge. The donation officially was announced last week.
The money has funded the engineering and design the bridge, and construction of the pre-fabricated wood and steel structure by Prock Marine. The city’s public services department will do some work on the site to prepare for the placement of the bridge, which is expected to be erected on the site within the next few weeks, Caler Bell said.
The bridge would connect the southern and northern sections of the Harbor Trail. The bridge would extend from the city-owned Thorndike parking lot to property owned by the Everett Spear family. The Spear family granted the city an easement for the bridge and the trail.
The city’s Harbor Trail has been in development since 1993. Efforts to create the trail from Snow Marine Park in the city’s south end waterfront to the Rockland Breakwater on the northern end of the city have had many starts and stops.
One effort to develop the trail in July 1999 was met with less-than-favorable reaction. A city employee decided that painting a blue line along the downtown sidewalk would be a way to promote the trail but downtown merchants and customers initially thought a vandal had struck.
But the trail’s growth has quickened in the past few years.
Mayor Louise MacLellan-Ruf said that the trail is important both to the economy and for improved wellness of the community.
“People plan their vacations around walkability,” she said.
The city is talking with the owners of the Breakwater Marketplace to get an easement for the trail to run on the water side of the building so that the trail would divert from the sidewalk on busy Camden Street. The city has also had talks with Littlefield Memorial Baptist Church to have the trail extend on the water side of its Waldo Avenue property.