SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Even if it costs $1 million, building a parking lot on property across Shore Road from the town dock might be a good investment, Town Manager Don Lagrange has told the board of selectmen.
The 1.15-acre lot with a wood frame house built in 1860 is for sale. The asking price is $770,000. Lagrange estimates it would cost another $250,000 or so to remove the house, grade the sloping land and develop a parking lot.
He said the availability of parking could increase the use of the harbor and bring the town more revenue.
“We have space for more moorings in the harbor, but we don’t have places for people to park,” he told the selectmen.
“Looking at the history of this town, several opportunities for picking up extra land for parking went by the wayside. As time goes on, land gets more and more expensive, or land is sometimes not available.”
The lot that Lagrange has his eye on is adjacent to the Dockside Inn & Restaurant.
To cover the purchase of the property and development of the parking lot, Lagrange said the town could go to the bond market and get “a very reasonable interest rate.” He envisions paying off the bond over 30 years by charging parking fees and higher mooring fees.
“I think with a combination of those, we probably could keep it away from the taxpayers and just have it fee based,” he said.
Selectman George Jellison said of Lagrange’s idea, “I think it makes sense to look at it.”
Other board members agreed and asked Lagrange to come back to them with a more detailed proposal.
Lagrange said he also would investigate the availability of other properties in Manset.