City looking at independent contractor for harbor reorganization plan

By Dan West | Jan 21, 2014

Belfast — An independent contractor may be brought in to develop a plan to better utilize space in the inner harbor if the Harbor Committee gets its way.

After months of discussions regarding a reorganized float/mooring plan for the inner harbor, the Harbor's Committee voted unanimously to request the City Council hire a private contractor to formulate a plan.

City Manager Joe Slocum attended the Harbor Committee meeting and suggested going with a third party to redesign the harbor because of the many varying interests such a plan would have to take into consideration.

In recent months two of those competing interests have come to a head as the Harbor Committee discussed moving the fishermen's floats in the area where the Belfast Boatworks' floats were previously. Front Street Shipyard recently purchased Belfast Boatworks; however, transferring mooring permits from one business to another is not guaranteed and is only permitted by the Army Corps of Engineers to "promote commerce," Slocum said.

The City Council, which meets Jan. 21, will weigh in on the transfer of the float locations from Belfast Boatworks to Front Street Shipyard. Were the council to grant the transfer, Front Street Shipyard would not hold those spaces in perpetuity, Slocum said. If the city authorizes a third-party study for reorganizing the inner harbor it could recommend moving those floats in the future.

In addition to the reorganization study, committee member David Black suggested studying the feasibility of installing a wave attenuator at the northeastern edge of the inner harbor. Black said that such an attenuator would reduce wave action, which would allow the harbor to hold the maximum number of boats possible.

"You need to build your house before you can put the furniture in," Black said. "I want us to make a project out of this."

The committee agreed to also request the city approve a study on installing a wave attenuator in the inner harbor.

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