PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- More than 100 people packed into a meeting room in Portland's Public Library Tuesday evening to discuss the future of city's waterfront along Commercial Street.
Adapting to the ever changing waterfront is a battle fisherman across the state are facing. That problem continues to grow for one of the busiest wharfs in Maine. Which is why city leaders and community members are coming together to find a solution.
The group took turns voicing their biggest concerns and then separated into groups to collaborate on the issues and their solutions.
"My number one concern is access to the waterfront for commercial fisherman." One attendee said.
"We need to find a way to keep the marine uses in Portland but also balancing the upkeep and maintenance cost of these properties." Another attendee said.
Other concerns ranged from pedestrian safety to overdevelopment.
"The working waterfront is part of the draw to the city -- it's crucial, it's the flavor of Portland." Dan Harriman said.
Harriman comes from a long line of fisherman. He says as the city has grown so have things like his rent and commute. He worries about more developers coming in to build.
"What will it be if it's just bar rooms and fancy hotel rooms." Harriman said.
However, those looking to develop -- like Bateman Partners which announced Tuesday afternoon its proposal for a 40-million dollar investment project including a hotel -- believe there is a way to make everyone happy.
Writing in a statement Tuesday:
"Together we can implement practical solutions to infrastructure challenges, access problems and parking issues that now face the waterfront and the fishing community."
Portland's Mayor Ethan Strimling echoes that belief.
"It shouldn't just be their voices we should all be standing up and saying preserving the working waterfront, that's the bottom line." Strimling said.
Suggestions for a final goal, to make the working waterfront work for everyone.
"There has to be a balance, there has to be a happy medium," Harriman said. "Where we can have some economic development and the wharf owners can make a decent dollar off their investment and the fisherman can still go fishing."