BAR HARBOR — Bar Harbor town officials are looking at the possibility of demolishing the deteriorating former state ferry terminal and turning it into a municipal marina.
The idea from the Harbor Committee was presented to the Town Council Tuesday night by committee member and state representative Lynne Williams, and the two groups are expected to meet possibly as soon as June to hash some of the big–picture questions about the future of the 121 Eden Street site.
Some councilors had prior reservations about employing the wrecking ball, but now they all seemed to be on board with the need to demolish the failing terminal that the town purchased in 2018.
“I do not think there is anything salvageable at that pier,” said council member Valerie Peacock.
The pier was built in 1956 and is now obsolete, according to the summary of a consultant’s report. Some of the pier’s pilings are in “critical” condition and the surface has little to no live load capacity.
The Harbor Committee deemed it more cost effective to replace the pier, estimated at around $20 million, compared to the estimated $17.5 million price tag to repair it.
The committee looked at cruise ship tendering, a recreational marina and a working waterfront for the terminal and felt that a marina was the best option.
That kind of development would not preclude the other activities at the site, including having Bay Ferries continue to operate ferries to Canada, the construction of a boat ramp that was previously a popular idea or potential cruise ship activity at the site, Williams said.
The committee recommendation was to demolish any of the existing pier and infrastructure not needed to fulfill its current contract with Bay Ferries and continue working with its consultant or another engineer to design options for phased development for a multi-purpose marina.
But council members wanted to have a workshop with the Harbor Committee to figure out how to move forward on the massive undertaking and what sort of things they wanted to see at the marina.
“We have to come up with a master plan,” said council member Erin Cough.
If a marina is built, Harbormaster Charlie Phippen thought it would become a popular destination, be it for small Boston Whalers or large yachts.
“We’ve outgrown the harbor,” he said. “It’s a very finite resource with infinite demand on it.”
The council officially voted to indefinitely postpone the item until it met with the committee.
“This is going to take some work,” said council member Joe Minutolo. “I think we’ve settled on a marina. Let’s define the ingredients of this marina.”