BAR HARBOR — Members of the Hub of Bar Harbor celebrated the year’s achievements and offered a preview of upcoming projects at their annual meeting Monday at the Abbe Museum.
“The Hub has provided organization that we’ve lacked for years” on a number of different community efforts,” board President Chris Vincenty said. The group is a local affiliate of the Maine Development Foundation’s Main Street Maine program.
Having a paid executive director, as they hope to add next year, qualifies the Hub to become a full Main Street Maine organization and have an even greater impact. The designation, Vincenty said, would give the group new opportunities and leverage. “We’ll be able to bring national expertise and resources,” he said.
Representatives from the Hub are set to return to the Town Council next week to ask for an allocation in next year’s budget to support the proposed staff position.
Vincenty said the Hub’s design committee worked closely with the firm that designed and built the new downtown signs installed this year. Their input, he said, made the project a success. The project had languished for many years, he said, and input from the Hub committee helped make the signs fit the town’s style and brand as opposed to being merely functional.
Other Hub projects in 2015 included a Healthy Main Street program that installed bike racks and water filling stations. The group also merged with the volunteer Bar Harbor Merchant’s Association that has promoted year-round business here.
The group hosted an open design charette in March of this year, attended by about 80 people. Breakout groups discussed environmental issues; facilities and buildings; parks and recreation; infrastructure and activities; and events. A report from the charette is available on the group’s website.
Design committee Chairman Mike Rogers of LARK Studio presented an overview of the Designer Show House project at the George Edwin Kirk American Legion Post 25 building. It is slated to open in the summer of 2017.
“I spent five years walking past it on my way to lunch every day and thinking there could be so much more going on here,” Rogers said. He invited anyone interested to join the group working on the project.
The plan is for the building to continue to house the Legion’s meetings and museum but also provide office space for rent and transitional housing for veterans or others in need of it.
The economic development committee, Chairman Ruth Eveland said, has been involved in efforts to explore a town-owned fiber network for better Internet access. She said the Hub will be able to help the technology task force educate the community about the options available.
The committee also is beginning to work on a housing survey and inventory. They hope the survey will provide useful evidence to back up any future recommendations to the Town Council. “There’s no one solution to addressing affordable housing,” Eveland said, “but we’re hoping to find a way to make it more attractive for property owners to provide year-round housing.”