NORTHPORT, Maine — For generations, Saturday Cove in Northport has been used only by residents of the midcoast community.

But because the shoreline is changing, so might the times. Voters will decide at next month’s annual town meeting whether to open the small cove to the general public. If they say yes, it means that Northport can use the $119,000 grant it already has been awarded to stabilize the eroding shoreline and improve the pier and docks.

“Because it’s federal funds, we are required to open it up to the general public,” Barbara Ashey, town administrator, said Tuesday.

The Small Harbor Improvement Program grant requires matching funds from the community, so voters also will need to appropriate $119,000 for the Saturday Cove work, she said.

“We’re losing the shore,” she said Tuesday, explaining the need for the improvements.

The cove, located south of Temple Heights along Penobscot Bay, now is used by kayakers and canoers. It’s too shallow for most fishermen with larger boats, unless they come in at high tide.

“We were hoping maybe we’d be able to have it dredged, but it’s very expensive to do that,” Ashey said.

The community’s harbor ordinance states that the cove is for Northport residents only. Ashey said she did not know why or when that decision was made.

“It’s always been that way,” she said.

Residents are invited to come to a public hearing on the matter at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 22, at the Edna Drinkwater School. The final vote will take place at the annual town meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m. Monday, June 2, also at the school.