Northport pursuing federal funds to improve Saturday Cove after residents vote to open area to the public
Northport — Northport officials are looking to bid out work to make a number of improvements to Saturday Cove by the end of summer or early fall after residents voted to open the area to the public.
Town Administrator Barbara Ashey said the town can now move forward with securing a Small Harbor Improvement Program (SHIP) grant that will help pay to stabilize the shore due to issues with erosion in recent years, replace floats and the pier, as well as improve the parking area at Saturday Cove.
The SHIP grant will provide $119,000 with the town providing matching funds of $119,000 for a total of $238,000, Ashey said. She said work will be completed in two phases with the first phase focusing on stabilizing the shore and improving the boat launch and parking area in the spring of 2015.
The remainder of the work related to improvements to the pier and floats will then be completed during the summer of 2015, Ashey said.
Before the town could accept the grant funds, residents had to vote on whether the area would be open to the general public as Saturday Cove has traditionally only been open to Northport residents. In order to be eligible for SHIP funding, “a project must improve access to the water for the public, including but not limited to commercial and recreational fishermen and other resource and tourism related industries,” among other criteria, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.
Ashey said residents voted to open the area during the annual town meeting June 2, and they also voted to appropriate the $119,000 in matching funds for the SHIP grant.
In addition to opening Saturday Cove to the public and approving matching funds for the SHIP grant, residents also approved an amendment to the town's Harbor Ordinance to reflect the fact the cove is open to the public.