2014-10-24 / Front Page

Selectmen approve funds for dredging

Work will improve accessibility in Government Wharf area
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — The board of selectmen voted to allocate $30,000 from the joint dredging fund shared with Kennebunkport to remove sand from the Government Wharf area.

Dredging will increase commercial and residential accessibility in what is currently a very shallow area, according to town officials.

The $30,000 appropriated will come from approximately $70,000 in funds that have been accrued over the years through mooring fees. The town, in the past few months, has tried unsuccessfully to procure state grant money for the dredging project because the area around Government Wharf is not a navigable channel.

The River Committee has also recommended that an extension off of Government Wharf be added to provide permanent moorings for fishermen.

“I think this is a good temporary working solution to grant that public access from a point off of the river,” said Kennebunk Town Manager Barry Tibbetts at the Oct. 14 meeting. “I think the long-term future dredging is still up in the air and hopefully a feasibility study will help to tell us whether that’s practical or not.”

In the meantime, the town has entered into a regional collaboration with seven other nearby towns.

Tibbetts, along with the other town managers, is exploring whether a viable option might be to jointly purchase and share dredging equipment.

The towns are pursuing a feasibility study and grant money from the Maine Department of Transportation, a process which will likely take eight months, Tibbetts said.

“The long-term dredging solution really has nothing to do with what we’re talking about here,” said Selectman Al Searles. “They (Kennebunkport) want to access the fund that both towns have put in to, they want to take $30,000 to dredge around that pier.

“I’ve made the comment before that that does nothing for Kennebunk and I still believe that. That aside, the fund was created by both towns fairly, (with both) equally contributing.”

Kennebunk needs to also find a space for public access on its side of the river, Searles said, “Otherwise that money that’s sitting in there, our share of it, is going to end up getting used to dredge the navigable channel, and after the Port takes their $30,000, the lion’s share of the money in there is going to be money contributed by the town of Kennebunk.”

“For everyone to sit here and say, ‘Well, we had a chance once (to find access on the Kennebunk side) now it can never be done,’ is a load of crap,” Searles said. “Anything can be done if you want it and you look hard enough for a solution.”

Want to comment on this story? Visit our website at www.post.mainelymediallc.com and let us know your thoughts.

Return to top