MOUNT DESERT — Because it took so long for the town to obtain all 35 easements for underground power lines that were needed from 26 property owners on Main Street in Northeast Harbor, the downtown revitalization project was on hold for many months.
The project is now about 18 months behind the original schedule.
“The easement process is the primary reason we will be so late,” said Public Works Director Tony Smith.
He said he hopes the project can be completed in the fall of 2022.
“Versant [power company] had told us they would not do any work including pole setting until they had every easement they needed in hand,” Smith said. “We now have our last easement.”
He said the general contractor, R.F. Jordan & Sons, didn’t do any work this past spring because much of their work is contingent upon the installation of utility poles.
“They didn’t want to put conduits in the ground from the east side of Main Street to the west side based on where the construction drawings showed utility poles because those locations might change,” Smith said.
“We typically start [road work] after Labor Day. But because this project is on Main Street, we moved it to the middle of October. The construction season will be Oct. 12 through May 25, the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend next spring.”
He said the work that remains to be done includes rebuilding the sidewalks on the east side of Main Street.
“That’s why there are still remnants of a big puddle in front of the post office,” he said. “There is also a puddle where Kimball Lane intersects Main Street, and that will be taken are of as well.”
Smith said the small parking lot on the west side of Main Street at the northern end of the village just needs the final layer of pavement. The electric vehicle charger there, which will be able to handle two vehicles, is to be energized this fall.
The downtown revitalization plan calls for a “pop-out park” to be created in front of the 123 Main Street market and restaurant. The park will be marked by pavers that extend from the sidewalk nearly to the middle of the street, which has one-way traffic only in the summer. The pavers will be flush with the surface of the street to allow for snow plowing in the winter. In the summer, concrete planters will protect patrons sitting at tables in the pop-out park.
Smith said that, if the weather cooperates this coming winter and spring, “I’m hoping that all that’s left to do next fall is touch up the landscaping and put the final surface of pavement on Main Street. I had wished for the same thing last year, but with the easement process and working with Versant, that didn’t come to fruition.”