Costs grow for new town garage

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — New cost estimates for replacement of the Public Works garage in Southwest Harbor vastly exceed the $280,000 that the town initially appropriated for the project. The plans are not yet finalized, so the project will not go to voters at Town Meeting next month.

“We’re 28 days from the town meeting,” Selectman George Jellison said at the board’s April 9 meeting. “We shouldn’t bring this up then.”

The new estimate is $427,000, which will cover the cost of the concrete pad but not the construction of the building. The current plan calls for radiant floor heating and includes two full-length bays, a maintenance bay, and two bus-length bays. According to Public Works Director Scott Alley, buses will be able to drive in and swing right up to their spots.

The current garage is in bad enough shape that the town won’t be able to get it insured for too much longer.

“When the building was built, they cut corners big time,” Allen “Snap” Willey said.

The insurance policy is through the Maine Municipal Association.

“There’s no hard deadline,” Town Manager Justin VanDongen said concerning when MMA might refuse to insure the building. “MMA will let you know that you need to have a plan in place to replace it.”

The plan includes retention ponds that will prevent sediment from sand piles from escaping and adding silt to nearby water sources. The town does not yet have an exact figure on the cost of the proposed retention ponds.

“We could consider making the retention ponds after the fact,” VanDongen said. “But there’s a chance we won’t get DEP approval if we don’t include the ponds.”

The design and cost estimate for the new garage also does not include a floor drainage system.

“It would be useful to keep the floor dry,” said Alley. “We could pump the oil out every fall.”

Chairman Chad Terry asked to get a cost estimate for an oil separation drainage system.

Noting that the town is essentially at the start of this project, Selectman Kristin Hutchins said, “If we put it off, we need to set a deadline so we’re not back in the same place.”

“This is not a failure,” Selectman Ryan Donahue added. “We’re doing our due diligence to build the garage.”

Blake Cass

Blake Cass

Blake Cass

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