The view from Simpson’s Point in Brunswick. Contributed

BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick Town Council wants to spend $335,000 to give the public better access to the water at Simpson’s Point Landing.

The town bought about a half-acre in early 2018 at the end of Simpson’s Point Road adjacent to the town’s public boat launch. The $71,500 purchase was intended to provide additional easier access to Middle Bay, which was only available via a boat ramp.

“Also, owning the adjacent parcel would allow the town to provide the ability to improve the parking situation for those who use the boat launch or swim near the landing,” Assistant Town Manager Ryan Leighton wrote in a memo to the council.

Councilor Steve Walker said the town needs more public access to its coastline.

Councilor Dan Jenkins said that with Coffin Pond closed and given a lack of swimming areas in Brunswick during a pandemic, this project should be a priority. Simpson’s Landing was crowded with cars all summer, he said, and the area is expected to become more congested as the local population increases.

“This is desperately needed,” Jenkins said. “That whole parcel of road is in rough shape all the time and the only way to get out of there is to do a turn around right in front of the dock there. It’s a mess for cars and I think the parking would be welcomed.”

Town Manager John Eldridge said Tuesday the town would create parallel parking along the front of the property. It would cost $105,000 to widen and pave the front of the property. The town would pave the widened access road and lower Simpson’s Point Road to 800 feet north of the Pennell Way intersection, costing another $182,500.

The council tabled the discussion until Feb. 1, when they are expected to discuss how to pay for the project.

The property was purchased with money from the sale of the waterfront property at 946 Mere Point Road. The proceeds were placed in a water access fund, and there is $180,000 remaining, according to Eldridge. That money can be applied to the Simpson’s Point project, with the remainder to be paid for through the town’s annual paving budget.

Walker suggested the town seek a Small Harbor Improvement grant through the Maine Department of Transportation which offers up to $250,000 for eligible projects, “and I think this would be a shoo-in for at least the $105,000 part of the widening,” if not more.

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