Bar Harbor Continues Plans For $3.5 Million Ferry Terminal

BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - Town officials in Bar Harbor have been thinking about buying the former CAT ferry terminal, about a mile and a half from downtown.

The $3.5 million deal would help split up cruise ship traffic.

As Alyssa Thurlow reports, the town now has the final say on what is actually done with the terminal.

"I think from the vote last June, that it was clear that people want the town to own that property," said Bar Harbor Town Manager, Cornell Knight.

"Having the town own that property is really the best way forward that we can come together as a community and decide what the best use of it is," said President of the College of Atlantic, Darron Collins.

The town of Bar Harbor is till in the process of developing a business plan for the former CAT ferry terminal on Eden Street.

Now, it is up to residents to decide what the town should do with it, which includes plans for a multi-use marine facility with boat landings for small cruise ships.

Town Manager, Cornell Knight says each plan needs to be looked at closely.

"The other items that are in the plan, which is a marina, and there are certain security issues with having a national ferry, so we would have to make sure that those issues didn't block out other uses of the property," explained Knight.

Darron Collins is in his 7th year as President of the College of Atlantic.

He says a multi-use marina would be an excellent use for the property, but he says he hopes the town takes tourist traffic into consideration.

"Part of what draws people to the College of the Atlantic is the same thing that draws people to the island as a whole, and that is the nature that we are surrounded by, Acadia National Park, the beauty of the ocean, and Frenchman Bay, and any big development could potentially threaten that," said Collins. "I'm concerned about how tourism could have negative impacts on the community, and as the President, I'm concerned with how tourism could have a negative impact on the college."

The future of the former terminal is now in the hands of voters as they head to the polls on June 12th.

Town officials say a port authority is also an option if the town did not want to take on any debt.

But residents say they just want to come up with the best solution for everyone involved.

"I want to work collaboratively with the town, with Acadia National Park, and with all the stakeholders to make sure we navigate that future," explained Collins.

The Maine Senate approved a bill Thursday that would give the town the option of establishing a Port Authority if residents approve that designation. The House has yet to vote on the bill.