A nearly $14,000 state grant will help Cape Elizabeth start planning how to relocate its Kettle Cove public boat launch, which frequently washes out during storms and at high tide. Jenny Ibsen / For The Forecaster

CAPE ELIZABETH — As another summer season draws to a close, new plans to improve coastal access are in the works for future seasons, thanks to a nearly $14,000 state grant.

The town received the $13,750 Shore and Harbor Planning Grant from the Maine Department of Marine Resources to develop a preliminary plan to renovate and relocate the Kettle Cove public boat launch.

The launch, which is now located between Kettle Cove and Crescent Beach on Kettle Cove Road, has been proposed to move farther north on Kettle Cove Road.

“It just doesn’t accomplish what we need to have,” Town Manager Matthew Sturgis said Tuesday.

The public launch tends to get washed out during high tide and storms, Sturgis said, the angle of entry is difficult to maneuver, and the location is difficult to enter.

The grant, which was awarded June 5, was unanimously accepted Aug. 12 by the Town Council.

The Department of Marine Resources received applications for 11 projects totaling nearly $229,000 in requests. The Cape Elizabeth funds will be used for surveying and engineering services and cannot be used for construction. The grant requires a minimum 25% match from the town, in-kind or cash.

“We have the money set aside to match that, but we also have the staff time that we will also be devoting to this as well,” Sturgis told the council.

The preliminary recommendation to establish a new public boat launch was suggested by the five-member 2018 Harbors Committee. Councilors accepted the recommendation before applying for the grant this spring.

Sturgis said the town intends to apply next year for a state Shore Access Grant, which would provide assistance to implement the plan.

“We’re definitely excited to get the process started and find a solution to what now isn’t working,” he said Tuesday. “This is a great first step to help us accomplish this goal, to provide and improve our coastal access.”

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