Kittery Town Manager Kendra Amaral presents a capital improvement plan for 2019-2023 to the Town Council. The plan involves continued investment in the replacement of the town's commercial fishing pier. Credit: Alex LaCasse | Portsmouth Herald

KITTERY, Maine — The Government Street pier is in need of reconstruction due to structural deficiencies discovered in a study conducted last fall.

The deficiencies are attributed to wear and tear and may require a warrant article for repair to be placed on the June ballot.

In her report to the Town Council during Monday night’s meeting, Town Manager Kendra Amaral said following a Feb. 1 public hearing held by the Kittery Port Authority (KPA), members of the public emphasized their desire for the pier to remain as a commercial fishing pier. She said dating back to the fiscal year 2018 to 2022 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the town began to set aside $50,000 a year to go toward the replacement of the pier.

Amaral said the KPA has been forced to institute weight restrictions on fishermen who use the pier and the restrictions have caused a strain on their business. As a result of the negative economic impact the restricted use of the pier is causing, and the KPA’s desire to replace the pier sooner than planned, Amaral said she discussed options with members of the KPA and Town Council Chairman Ken Lemont and will present options for expediting the proposed municipal project when the budget is presented to the Town Council.

Amaral stressed the KPA and public’s desire for the pier to continue as a commercial pier.

“We talked about some options and we’ll be incorporating those options into the presentation for the FY 2019 budget, but effectively what we’re looking at is potentially seeking a warrant article to use undesignated surplus in order to fund it,” she said.

Amaral said the cost to replace the pier is somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000 but if the town is able to qualify for a Maine Department of Transportation Small Harbor Improvement Program grant, it would only require Kittery to put up 50 percent of the cost.

One of the suggestions contracted consultants provided in the Foreside land use, parking and transportation study was to create a boardwalk of sorts connecting the Foreside along the Piscataqua River to the area by Warren’s Lobster House and John Paul Jones Park. Town Councilors Matt Brock and Jeff Thomson said they would like to see an effort to increase pedestrian amenities around the pier whether it comes as part of the pier revitalization or through Foreside improvements, in accordance with the study.

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