Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, October 11, 2019
Grant awarded to expand commercial fish pier
A matching grant from the Maine Department of Transportation will help the town of Stonington expand its Municipal Fish Pier on the western side. A construction timeline should be finalized in the coming weeks.
by Faith DeAmbrose
A Small Harbor Improvement Grant from the Department of Transportation in the amount of $65,000 will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the town of Stonington to expand its commercial fish pier.
The expansion will occur on the western side of the pier adding a granite retaining wall and additional parking. Currently there are 63 parking spaces on the pier, which is used by the staff of roughly 80 boats and four seafood dealers who call the harbor home. As part of the project, parking will be moved from the center of the pier to the side and while it is expected to increase overall, the amount of additional spots created has yet to be determined.
According to the grant application submitted by the town this past winter, the expanded pier will benefit the commercial fishing fleet by providing “safer and improved maneuverability for tractor trailers and seafood transportation” as well as “increased boat tie-up access.”
Stonington’s Municipal Fish Pier has been the top grossing port in the state for many years running, with close to $60 million worth of seafood in ex-vessel value (also known as boat price) landed in 2018.
The selectmen approved a transfer of $65,000 from the Fish Pier Reserve at a meeting in February, ahead of the grant application process to satisfy the town’s share of the matching grant.
The town will meet with MDOT officials on October 16 to decide on a timeline for project bidding and construction, according to town manager Kathleen Billings. Detailed drawings have already been created by the town’s engineer, Andrew McCullough, and will be used as part of the bidding package.