KITTERY POINT, Maine — Weeks before a new float system is installed at Pepperrell Cove, fishermen are crying foul, saying a key ramp that they need to do their work is being eliminated to make way for pleasure boaters.
Harbor master Mike Blake believes he has found a solution that will keep the new float project on track, while meeting the concerns of the fishing community — although the town will need permit approval from state and federal agencies, something that could take time.
Meanwhile, Town Council Chairman Jeff Thomson said Friday, “My head is spinning. I don’t know who to believe.”
At issue is a new float system that will be built at the end of Pepperrell Pier (formerly called Fishermen’s Pier). The $332,000 project involves adding space for six boats, as well as six additional moorings. Most of the cost will be covered through a federal grant specifically targeting transient boaters.
The floats are currently being built by Prock Marine Co. at its facility in Rockland, and will be floated to Kittery by barge the week of June 2. Included in the plans is a 70-foot ramp that will be built on the side of Pepperrell Pier, which will be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.
At a recent Town Council meeting, several Kittery Point residents said a ramp currently being used by fishermen has been eliminated in the plans for the new float system. The ramp is located at the end of the pier and is short enough even at high tide to allow lobstermen to slide traps down it. The ADA-compliant ramp, lobstermen have told Blake, is too long.
Most lobstermen and fishermen use the newly built Frisbee Pier next to Pepperrell Pier. The transient boating system was put on hold several years ago after the fishing community asserted that the Frisbee Pier be replaced.
According to Blake, the Pepperrell Pier is used by small lobstermen and charter boat fishermen.
“The way the project is going now, the small ramp at the head of the pier is going to be eliminated and is going to greatly affect how fishermen do their business,” Kelly Philbrick told the council at its May 12 meeting. Philbrick, who comes from a fishing family, is also a member of the Kittery Port Authority, which led the float project. She has not supported it, however.
Others told the council the town needs to take care of its fishing community before anyone else. But KPA Chairman Bob Melanson told the council at its May 19 workshop that the project is already well under way and is just about impossible to stop at this stage. “The train has left the station,” he said.
Blake hopes he has come up with a solution that will allow the ramp to remain in place by adding a float. He said one more piling would have to be installed, which he said Prock Marine could do while on site in June at an additional cost of $2,000.
Lobsterman and KPA member Steve Lawrence told the council at a May 19 workshop that he could support the solution.
Several questions remain, though. Blake said Maine Department of Transportation officials, who are overseeing the project, have told him that as long as the fishermen’s ramp doesn’t detract from ADA accessibility, “they’d be supportive of it.” However, they have not yet signed off on Blake’s idea, and it is unclear whether the grant would be in jeopardy.
Moreover, Blake said, the town would have to get federal and state permits to add the float, a process that could typically take two months. However, he’s hoping the permitting period can overlap the project.
He said if all goes well, he believes the work can all be done while Prock Marine is here during June.
End of the Article.
As always you should watch Channel 22 for the most comprehensive and get the most detailed information and accurate information concerning the Town.
What the article from the Portsmouth Herald failed to mention was that a group of Town Councilors asked questions and expressed concerns. NOTE: we should be careful and be able to review it going forward and not after the project is finished.
for those who would like to know the history of the pier and the uses, I included a story from the Portsmouth Herald below.
A plaque dedicated to Solon Frisbee is embedded in stone and stands sentinel right next to Frisbee Wharf. It reads, “Given to the inhabitants of the town of Kittery, Feb. 25, 1955. Forever to be used wholly by the commercial and recreational boaters and the general public in memory of Solon Frisbee and family.”
RECAP of INFORMATION CONCERNING THE PIER.
KITTERY POINT, Maine — Solon Frisbee would be a happy man this week.
As his 83-year-old son, three daughters and their families watched Monday, the Kittery Port Authority unveiled a plaque honoring him for his 1955 donation of Pepperrell Cove land to the town.
“What a gift this is to the town,” said Harbor Master Mike Blake, as his arm swept the parking lot behind Captain & Patty’s restaurant and the two town piers — all part of Frisbee’s legacy to Kittery. “The KPA thought it was past time to honor him for this.”
Solon Frisbee was the mid-20th-century patriarch of the Frisbee family, a name well known in Kittery and Kittery Point. Frisbee’s Market opened in 1828 and was operated by generations of Frisbee family members until 2010. Frisbee Elementary School was named for Solon’s father.
At one point, the family owned all of the land behind the market, right up to the water, and built a wharf there. Solon’s son, Frank, the last proprietor of Frisbee’s Market, said five-masted schooners used the pier to off-load cargo, supplies were left at the pier for the men at the Wood Island Life Saving Station, and celebrities such as Margaret Truman and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren docked there.
For generations of fishermen and recreational boaters alike, the town-owned land at Pepperrell Cove is arguably the most meaningful Frisbee legacy.
Thanking Solon Frisbee for his generosity to the town is “probably long overdue,” said Judy Richardson of Eliot, Solon Frisbee’s daughter. “For all he did for Kittery, this is important.”
Frank Frisbee displayed personal photos of the land and the pier — including images of the devastation that followed a hurricane that swept through the cove in 1954 and took out the pier entirely.
“He didn’t have the money to build a new one, but he thought it was important to the town to have a dock here,” Frisbee said. After the land was donated, the town applied for a federal grant for repair of Frisbee Wharf.
“Thanks to (Maine Sen.) Margaret Chase Smith, they were able to rebuild it,” he said.
“It was important to him that the pier remain a working pier,” said granddaughter Cindy Frisbee. That her grandfather gave the land to the town is no surprise, she said.
“He was constantly giving to other people and helping them,” she said.
Today, a second wharf, the Fishermen’s Pier, stands next to the so-called Frisbee Wharf, which was replaced several years ago.
The plaque to Solon Frisbee is embedded in stone and stands sentinel right next to Frisbee Wharf. It reads, “Given to the inhabitants of the town of Kittery, Feb. 25, 1955. Forever to be used wholly by the commercial and recreational boaters and the general public in memory of Solon Frisbee and family.”