The City of Belfast received a $25,000 Small Harbor Improvement Program (SHIP) grant to make improvements at the public landing.

The funding awards were announced Wednesday, Jan. 29, by the Maine Department of Transportation, which awarded more than $2.75 million to municipalities around the state.

Belfast will use the funds to replace five eight-foot by 20-foot floats and one 12-foot by 20-foot float, as well as allow for the installation of a three pile dolphin at the public landing.

In order to secure the SHIP grant, the city had to provide $25,000 in matching funds, which came from the Harbor Capital Reserve account.

The project is estimated to cost a total of $50,000.

The city had previously looked at applying for SHIP funds to make improvements to the Thompson's Wharf facility; however, SHIP grants can only be used for improvements that promote public access to the water. For that reason, city councilors were concerned about how those restrictions could limit the long-term potential rental income, management and use of the facility.

Harbormaster Kathy Pickering previously told councilors the floats that would be replaced with the help of the SHIP funds are 15 years old and needed to be replaced because larger vessels would tie up to them.

The addition of the three pile dolphin would act as a support for the float array and would also provide another point for large vessels to tie up to, Pickering told councilors in December.

Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge applauded the grant award and said it is good that the state chose to support the harbor project.

Pickering said in an email to The Republican Journal earliest the bids will go out to replace the floats and construct the dolphin will be the end of February.