HARPSWELL — Improvements may be coming to two points of public waterfront access.
Selectmen voted Dec. 29 to clean up Graveyard Point, and are weighing a proposal to install a public boat launch at Mitchell Field.
That boat launch could cost about $300,000, according to Barney Baker, a civil engineer who authored a study about the project. The cost is due to the quantity of fill needed, amount of rock needed to keep the ramp from washing away, and paving improvements.
The launch would feature a turn-around, ramp and second lane on the causeway for boaters to wait while the ramp is occupied. It would also have a separate 4-foot-wide pedestrian walkway.
Baker proposed building the launch on the north side of the existing causeway to protect the ramp from storms and provide better access to deep water. The parking area would have space for 16 trailers and be located near the existing truck turn-around on the Mitchell Field access road.
Town officials are looking into permitting and grant funding for the launch before moving forward. The expenditure would have to be approved by the annual Town Meeting.
Just down the road in South Harpswell, repairs are also in order for Graveyard Point.
Selectmen visited the public boat launch over the summer after hearing from residents and members of the Town Lands Committee who were concerned that the launch is overgrown and rocky to the point of being unusable.
On Dec. 15, that committee presented selectmen with an engineering report about how to improve access to the boat launch.
They recommended spending almost $100,000 to remove a retaining wall, restoring the boat ramp to its original width and improving accessibility for larger boats. Currently the launch is so narrow it is only used by kayakers and other non-motorized boaters.
“Even though that was a steep price, the committee felt that’s what we’d like to see happen,” committee member Ken Oehmig told selectmen.
But selectmen balked at spending almost $100,000 on top of the nearly $300,000 price tag of the Mitchell Field boat launch. Instead, they authorized a $15,000 expenditure for more modest improvements to parking, signs and the walkway.