City councilors approved expending additional funds for the Harbor Walk project at the request of the city planner to address recommendations from the state.

Councilors listened to an update on the Harbor Walk's progress Tuesday, Oct. 1, and learned the Maine Department of Transportation required the city to connect the sidewalk on Front Street that extends across the entrance to the shipyard's storage yard.

City Planner Wayne Marshall said the sidewalk could be connected using an 8- foot-wide strip of asphalt that would cost about $4,800.

In addition, Marshall said the city was notified that the tree grates it was planning to use around the red maples that would be planted along Front Street in the area of Steamboat Landing could not be used without moving the existing curb 2 feet out into the road.

Marshall said moving the curb, at a cost of about $17,000, would mean Front Street would be reduced to a width of 17 feet as opposed to its current width of 19 feet.

To avoid having to extend the curb out further into Front Street, Marshall said MDOT recommended the city plant Japanese lilacs instead of the red maples. However, City Councilor Mike Hurley said he didn't feel that the city had had much luck with Japanese lilacs in the past and said he would prefer to “bite the bullet” and move the curb out two feet.

Marshall noted there is sufficient funding to move the curb and connect the sidewalk across the entrance of the shipyard's storage yard. Marshall also said the city's lighting engineer was in town to switch out a reflector on one of the light poles in Steamboat Landing to see if the change will help address concerns from nearby property owners who have complained about excessive lighting in the area.

Councilor Mary Mortier asked Marshall if he knew which light would have a different reflector installed. Marshall responded by saying if officials can't tell which light has a different reflector then the fix probably wasn't a good one.

If the reflector does help to address concerns from neighbors, Marshall said it would be a cheaper option than changing the bulbs at an estimated price of $1,500 per light.

As a final note, Marshall said costs to construct the Harbor Walk are approaching the $1.5 million mark and the city has about $1.6 million in total funding available for the project.

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