BRUNSWICK — Some neighbors and residents expressed concerns Wednesday about the town’s $355,000 proposal to pave and add a parking lane at Simpson’s Point.

The crowded parking along Simpson’s Point presents a safety concern if an emergency vehicle needed to gain access to the road on a busy day, according to the town. The Simpson’s Point Landing includes boat launch access to Middle Bay.

The town has proposed using $180,000 from the water access fund to pave the road to the turnaround, as well as widening the road and adding a parking lane.

An additional 800 feet of paving on Simpson’s Point Road is also being proposed, which would cost an estimated $175,000 and be paid for through the town’s paving funds, bringing the total cost of the project to approximately $355,000.

Councilor Dan Ankeles said the town council will meet Monday to discuss, and potentially vote, on the funding and improvements. Ankeles also said that the meeting on Monday would be one of the last opportunities if the town wants to see the improvements by summer.

Nine locals spoke at the Rivers and Coastal Waters Commission meeting on Wednesday. Three called to raise concerns over the use of the water access fund for paving, saying that the fund should be used for more direct water access purposes, such as public swimming spots.

Simpson’s Point Road resident Jamie Ecker said that he is in favor of paving and adding the additional parking, but he doesn’t believe the water access fund should be used for paving the public road portion of this project.

“I personally do not like the precedent and the optics of having a water access fund and then having the ambiguity that the council can do whatever the council desires with it,” Ecker said.

The water access fund was originally sourced from the sale of 946 Mere Point Road in 2016 and currently contains just over $180,000. If the improvements are approved through the water access fund, the fund would be emptied.

Other topics that were mentioned by the public include a desire for more bicycle accessibility, more signage, clear rules for visitors with dogs and hours of operation, the need for speed and traffic control and more.

Purchased in 2018, the town does own just over a half-acre of waterfront at Simpson’s Point that is accessible from the road.

Simpson’s Point residents Patsy and Ben Ford own the land directly adjacent to both sides of the town’s access ramp, and have allowed the public’s use of their property since 1989. In the past 10 years, the increasing number of visitors has raised concerns, Patsy Ford said.

“We thought it was such a gorgeous place that we’d like to share it with people, but I got to say it’s getting over run,” said she in the meeting. “We also have a problem with parties at night down there.”

Ford said she does hope to see the paving and parking being completed before the summer.

“I think it’s a big mistake by the town to provide parking to an area that people are essentially accessing the private property that the town really has no right to,” said Ocean Drive resident Scott Bodwell in the meeting. “I don’t support doing anything there until these issues are sorted out.”

Town Engineer Ryan Barnes said in the meeting that the proposed parking lane could accommodate between 12 and 15 cars, depending on their size.

 

 

 

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