Rusty equipment at the current playground in Southwest Harbor, which is used by the elementary school, Harbor House Community Center, other residents and visitors. ISLANDER PHOTO BY SARAH HINCKLEY

Playground work to begin

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Selectmen accepted a bid last week from an engineering firm to begin foundation work on the playground downtown.

Selectmen said they were not sure decisions on bids for the project were their responsibility or that of the school board.

In June, voters approved using $180,000 from the town’s undesignated fund balance towards rebuilding the playground.

“It is town funds,” Town Manager Justin VanDongen said. “I think it’s within the purview of the board.”

Don Becker was at the meeting Tuesday representing G.F. Johnston and Associates of Southwest Harbor, the firm that was awarded the bid. Becker said he was hoping to find up to $12,000 in savings from his original bid.

“When we go to excavate the playground we don’t know what we are going to find,” said Becker. “You only do what you need to do but you don’t know what that is until you dig it up.”

Selectman Kristin Hutchins voiced concern about keeping the retaining wall that is in place. Becker assured her it was in good shape and easy to reset.

Foundation construction, also called earthwork, is expected to begin the second week of September. It is expected to include removal of all aspects of the playground except for the play boat structure.

Selectmen Ryan Donahue asked if it could be finished a week later so as not to disrupt school. According to Becker, the end of the month is more likely for completion, barring any delays.


Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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