East End Waterfront Access Project (EEWAP)

A rendering of the new boat launch planned for construction in 2018 

A rendering of the new boat launch planned for construction in 2018 

The Background

In 2015 Friends of the Eastern Promenade launched the East End Waterfront Access Project, a multi-year initiative dedicated to investigating and improving public use of one of Portland’s most valuable resources, the east end waterfront. The Project’s initial phase is focused on improving water access and safety for non-motorized personal watercraft in the area of East End Beach. This work is to be performed in two stages, with an initial design effort – one involving input from a broad range of stakeholders – followed by a more capital-intensive construction phase.

The Funding

The design process is funded through a Shore and Harbor Planning Grant through the Maine Coastal Program, with a local contribution from Friends of the Eastern Promenade. The construction phase will be funded through a Maine Department of Transportation Small Harbor Improvement Program (SHIP) grant, with matching funds to be raised by Friends of the Eastern Promenade. 

The process is collaboratively managed by the City of Portland and Friends of the Eastern Promenade.

The Process

In partnership with the City of Portland, a core working group formed primarily of representatives from Friends of the Eastern Promenade and City staff met in September, 2015 to set project goals and establish an action plan. A larger group of key stakeholders, including representatives of numerous non-profits, commercial users of the East End Beach peninsula, and neighborhood advocates, met in December to provide input regarding perceived needs and possible solutions. Collins Engineers, Inc. were then engaged to develop this input into a set of design alternatives, with the goal of meeting the twin goals of improved access and improved safety. 

A second stakeholders meeting was held in early April, 2016 to review initial, draft design alternatives. A public forum convened in late April to introduce the draft designs to the public and gather additional feedback. As a result of this valuable public input, the “preferred alternative” design underwent revision. Completion of the design phase is now anticipated for end of 2016, with construction to be complete by the end of 2018.

August 2017 Update

At the April 2016 Public Forum, sentiment tended away from a single large intervention (a new floating dock system) and toward a more dispersed enhancement of existing landscape features to satisfy our dual goals of improved access and improved safety for users of human-powered watercraft. This led to the preferred alternative, “Alternative 2,” which is a ramp and step structure located east of the existing recreational boat ramp at the North East Shore. The preferred alternative also includes improvements to the stairs leading to the North West Beach and development of a wash-down station for boats and gear in the vicinity of the kayak storage racks.

The working group has spent the past few months refining this proposal with the support of Collins Engineers, Inc. and landscape architecture firm MRLD, LLC to derive a final plan meets both fundamental EEWAP goals while bringing some aesthetic distinction to the project. The final design calls for a flared, stepped ramp bordered on one side by elevated drag rails for kayaks and other watercraft, and integrated into an improved waterfront greenspace. See teh image above for before/after plans and a perspective rendering.

Friends of the Eastern Promenade is currently in the process of raising funds to satisfy the required 1:1 match to DOT’s Small Harbor Improvement Program grant, with the goal of having all funds raised and encumbered by the end of 2018.  We are extremely pleased and grateful to the Quimby Family Foundation for committing $20,000 toward the EEWAP project.  This generous grant provides a solid foundation for future fundraising.

We are grateful for all of your input and support during this process and are excited about the plan it has produced. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the project

Portland Parks Commission to Discuss EEWAP

Members of the city of Portland's Parks Commission will receive a brief presentation on EEWAP at the commission's next meeting at 5:00 PM on October 5. The meeting will be held in the room 24 of Portland City Hall. Members of the public will be given an opportunity to make comments to the commission at the beginning of the meeting.