Calais Moves Forward with Waterfront Expansion

By Lura Jackson

Though the reinvigoration of the Calais waterfront has been a continuing project for at least a few decades, indications abound that the fruition of the city’s efforts may finally be at hand. At an Economic and Community Development Committee meeting held on Friday, August 28th, City Manager Jim Porter gave details on the potential upcoming expansion of the docks.

Porter said that he had requested preliminary engineering work done as part of the application for the Boating Infrastructure Grant, which provides funds to enable waterfronts to accommodate boats 26’ and larger. “It’s promising,” Porter said. “They said we have a good chance of being funded.” 

The expansion would double the existing 80’ docks, enabling it to safely moor 4-5 larger vessels at a time. The total cost of the project is approximately $80,000, part of which will be matched by the city. Porter said it was not yet known how much the city would need to pay in, but that the amount would very likely be offset by additional funds from the Small Harbor Improvement Program.

To meet the requirements of the grant, the docks will provide services such as electricity, water, and waste drainage. The city is also anticipating the acquisition of the former Visitor Information Center next to the library, which will provide bathrooms in addition to potentially renting outdoor adventure equipment to visitors and locals alike. “The goal is to be a full-service marina,” Porter said.

The city has also received approval to put a welcoming monument at the rotary. Porter is proposing the use of the newly designed Calais logo set onto granite, accompanied by ‘Welcome to Calais.’ The words will be visible from multiple directions to welcome those traveling from Canada as well as from the north. 


The committee is working on erecting signage in the same area to direct visitors to the downtown businesses and in-town services. Approval has been granted from a private landowner to host the sign. Julie Jordan is working with the Maine Department of Transportation to advance the issue.