City councilors signed off on a request to apply for state funding to rebuild the aging Thompson's Wharf.

Harbor Master Katherine Pickering explained to councilors Tuesday, Oct. 1, she wanted to submit a letter of intent to the Maine Department of Transportation's Small Harbor Improvement Program (SHIP) to secure funding to assist with paying for the rebuild of the wharf, which includes replacing floats and pilings, upgrading existing water and electrical utilities and extending the wharf to provide additional docking space.

The project is estimated to cost about $185,000, Pickering said, and the city would provide a 50 percent match in the amount of $95,000. Pickering and City Manager Joseph Slocum recommended the matching funds be taken from the Thompson's Wharf Reserve account and the Harbor Fuel account.

Pickering explained the estimated costs for the project were based on a design completed about a year and a half ago.

In order to be eligible for the SHIP funds, the city must submit a letter of intent to the state by Friday, Oct. 4, with the completed project application and designs to be submitted by Dec. 13 of this year.

The projects chosen to receive funding would be selected by Jan. 30, 2014, Pickering said.

Pickering told councilors the Harbor Committee had recently discussed rebuilding Thompson's Wharf and had voted in favor of pursuing funding to do the work.

Built in 1996 and turned over to the city in 1999, Thompson's Wharf is primarily used for charter vessels and summer and winter rentals. In a memorandum to councilors, Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge indicated the wharf's pier and the aluminum ramp are in relatively good shape but the floats are “deteriorating rapidly,” most of the hardware securing the floats is corroding, and the steel pilings near the mud line are corroding, as well.

During discussion about the rebuild of Thompson's Wharf, Pickering said the redesign will allow the city to make the facility more user friendly.

In addition to requesting authorization to submit the letter of intent for SHIP funds, Pickering requested an immediate allocation of $10,000 to prepare the designs and the bid specifications for the rebuild of Thompson's Wharf in advance of the funding awards being selected Jan. 30, 2014.

Having the design plans and bid information prepared in advance of the grant awards being announced would give the city “a reasonable chance of being able to complete all piling work by April 9, 2014,” Kittredge stated in his memorandum to city officials.

Funding for the design plans and bid specifications would be taken from the Thompson's Wharf Reserve account.

Councilors unanimously approved Pickering's request to apply for SHIP grant funds and to spend $10,000 to prepare designs and bid specifications for the rebuild of Thompson's Wharf.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.