Town of Mt. Desert proposed Village center plan for northeast harbor

More than a year ago, a group of Mt. Desert residents, business owners, and municipal officials came together to form the Town’s Village Center Committee. Tasked with formulating a plan to improve the aesthetics, flow, and safety of the “downtown” area of NE Harbor, the Committee employed the services of Maine based landscape architecture firm, Richardson & Associates. In addition to lending their own expertise and knowledge to the process, the Committee also circulated a community wide questionnaire and hosted several very well attended public workshops where ideas and input were shared to shape and complete the plan.

Note: The conceptual drawing covers all three phases of the entire plan (see below) and incorporates the potential for private projects such as new infill structures, etc.


Based on the invaluable input from Mt. Desert residents at various public workshops over the past year, the project has been divided and prioritized into there phases. Here is a brief synopsis of each:

  • PHASE I: Main Street, stretching from the intersection with Summit Rd. all the way to the intersection with Neighborhood Rd. Major goals include burying of utilities, widening of pedestrian sidewalks, formalizing the parking area next to Knowles Co., adding trees and landscaping, giving intersections a sense of importance with contrasting materials, making the intersection with Neighborhood Rd. more safe by squaring it off and relocating green space. Pedestrian pathways connecting Main St. to Tracy Rd. are also visualized, but require private investment and partnerships.
  • PHASE II: The area from Old Firehouse Ln. past the Great Harbor Maritime Museum towards Shaw Jewelry, and back to the municipal parking lot. Major goals include improving pedestrian safety and connection with Main St. via new and lengthened sidewalks, added streetscape greenery, pathway to municipal parking lot, new scenic overlook and gathering/picnic area. Phase II also illustrates some conceptual "infill structures" which could eventually be incorporated as privately funded projects.
  • PHASE III: Tracy Road. The third phase of the conceptual plan envisions a pedestrian friendly sidewalk and formalized curbside parking to take advantage of the walkway connectors to Main Street created in Phase I.

Mt. Desert Village Center Committee

Ellie Andrews, Gordon Beck, Kelly Brown, Katrina Carter, Sam Coplon, Douglass Cornman, Erika Wibby Mitchell, Marsha Planting, Rita Redfield, Rick Savage, Sam Shaw, Tony Smith

Above: Maintaining the existing parking layout on Main Street (diagonal during the summer) was a priority voiced by residents at the public workshops, and incorporated into the proposed plan.

Next Steps

At the May 2 Town Meeting, the Village Center Committee will be asking voters to support them in continuing their work by funding an engineering study and technical plans for the construction of Phase I. If approved, engineering plans will be completed during 2017/18, and at the May 2018 Town Meeting, voters will be asked if they would like to proceed with the buildout of Phase I.

This presentation was prepared by the Economic Development Committee

About the Economic Development Committee

The Economic Development Committee (EDC) is an ad-hoc group which was formed several years ago following a study issued by the Urban Land Institute. In that time, the Committee has successfully worked as a liaison to partner private funding with public resources for a variety of projects and events to benefit the community, amongst other things. The work of the EDC has also led to the formation of two other groups—the Broadband and Village Center Committees—each of which has been working hard to address issues identified as priorities by the public. Currently, the EDC is implementing plans for the formation of private entities to identify and fund future projects as well as work with new and existing businesses and organizations committed to economic and community development efforts.


Richardson & Associates

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