City to consider adding drug-free “safe zones”



ELLSWORTH — The City Council on Monday will conduct its regular business, including the issuance of business and liquor licenses, and consider plans for repairs to Harbor Park, the designation of drug-free “safe zones” and the transfer of part of the Water Street parking lot to the city from The Ellsworth American.

The monthly meeting of the Ellsworth City Council will be held Monday, Feb. 12, at 7 p.m. in the council chambers. The meeting is a week early due to the Presidents Day holiday.

Under new business, the council will consider a proposal from Rockland-based Prock Marine for at least $76,000 in “emergency repairs” to pilings and support structures at Harbor Park that have been damaged by recent ice and weather.

Funds for the project will likely be reallocated from a $1.1-million bond anticipation note that was approved by the council in January.

The city did not solicit a formal request for proposals, although engineer Andrew McCullough evaluated several options in the area. City Manager David Cole said the city has used Prock Marine in the past and been very satisfied with the work.

“We wanted to make sure we got on their list and could get them up here in time to have this functioning come spring,” Cole said.

Prock has said it can complete the project by June 1.

The $76,000 includes $23,000 in “mobilization costs.” Cole said additional items and repairs may be added if necessary.

In other business, a request will be presented to the council for part of the Water Street parking lot to be “donated” from The Ellsworth American to the city.

The Ellsworth American purchased the lot from the city for $15,000 in the mid-1990s in order to comply with a city ordinance requiring a certain lot-to-building size ratio. Under the restricted deed, the lot remained public parking and was maintained by the city. In 2012, the ordinance was amended to encourage development and allow more density in the downtown area, and the required lot-to-building ratio was reduced to zero. In light of the upgrades to the parking lot beginning this spring, owner and publisher Alan Baker offered to donate the lot back to the city.

“In reality, it was our parking lot the whole time,” Cole said.

Police Chief Glenn Moshier will present a request to designate four areas frequented by children as “safe zones.” The proposed areas include Knowlton Park, Harbor Park, the Demeyer Field Complex and the Moore Community Center. “Safe zones” are areas in which certain penalties for criminal activity, such as drug trafficking, are stiffer.

Several appointments are slated to be made to boards and commissions, including Tammy Mote to the Recreation Commission, Jarad Wilbur to the Housing Authority Board and also as an associate board member to the Board of Appeals. City officials plan to appoint Michelle Begin as a full member of the Board of Appeals. Begin is currently an associate board member.

The full agenda is available on the city of Ellsworth website at www.ellsworthmaine.gov/notices/city-council-meeting-notice-agenda-monday-february-12th-2018/.

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Southwest Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at [email protected]