Boardwalk, restroom work begins

MOUNT DESERT — Two Seal Harbor projects, renovation of the vintage public restroom building and repair of the Steamboat Wharf Road retaining wall and boardwalk, are both expected to start next week.

Public Works Director Tony Smith said both projects will take at least two months to complete.

The Board of Selectmen last week awarded a $138,516 contract to Associated Builders of Ellsworth for the restroom project. Associated Builders had submitted the low bid for the project last year, but that bid of $164,628 was $64,628 more than the town had budgeted.

“The architect, [WMH Architects of Northeast Harbor], at his expense, began negotiations with Associated Builders to review what items could be eliminated or altered to reduce the costs while maintaining the integrity and intent of the project,” Smith said.

Those negotiations resulted in a $26,112 reduction in the construction estimate. The total budget for the project, including architect’s fee and contingency, is now $161,000. Voters at town meeting in May approved the additional funding.

For the Steamboat Wharf Road project, the board of selectmen last week awarded the contract to Bowman Contractors of Newport for $222,500.

That was the low bid, but it was still $40,300 more than the town had budgeted. Last month, Smith asked the selectmen to approve spending up to $50,000 from a public works reserve account to make up the difference, plus up to $9,800 in contingency costs. Board members said at the time that they had no objection, but they wanted to make sure that an expenditure of that size from the reserve account did not require the approval of voters at town meeting.

Smith said last week that, according to the town’s legal counsel, the funds can be spent without a town meeting vote.

A 65-foot section of the stone wall that supports Steamboat Wharf Road is failing, and the pedestrian boardwalk that runs along the top of the wall needs repair. Smith said the boardwalk’s steel supports are corroded, and some of the steel nuts and bolts have failed.

“All of the steel has to be sandblasted down to clean metal and then treated,” he said.

The 94-year-old restroom building at the Seal Harbor beach parking lot needs a nearly total makeover. It is not handicapped accessible, has no electricity, the plumbing is inadequate, and the plaster is in bad shape.

The building of dark red brick has a small porch with white columns at the doors at either end. Town officials never seriously considered tearing it down and building new restrooms.

“It is an unusual building in that it has a very grandiose architectural style on a very small scale,” Anne Funderburk, vice president of the Seal Harbor Village Improvement Society, told the Board of Selectmen when they first began talking about what to do with it. “It’s difficult to imagine such a facility having charm, but that one does.”

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

Latest posts by Dick Broom (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.