Police station to be renovated ASAP



BAR HARBOR — The police station is in dire need of renovations as soon as possible, according to Police Chief James Willis and architect Geoffrey Fraser. Funds for the project were allocated last year, but no contractor submitted a bid when a Request for Proposals (RFP) was sent out.

Last week Town Council authorized Fraser to negotiate directly with a potential contractor, in a 6-1 vote. Fraser had asked councilors to allow direct negotiation instead of a re-bidding process to save time on an urgently needed renovation project.

“The conditions that [officers and staff] are working under are deplorable, almost reprehensible,” Fraser told councilors. As the force has grown, the building has stayed the same. Originally designed for five officers, the building now houses 14 officers, Fraser said.

Floors and ceilings need repair, a locker room needs to be added, and the booking and dispatch area need to be renovated with safety in mind, he said.

Willis elaborated in a memo to Town Manager Cornell Knight: “The current layout of our building results in our staff bringing people who are in custody directly into our work and kitchen areas, creating safety concerns,” he wrote. “When an Officer wants to interview a suspect or speak with someone filing a sensitive complaint, we often ask other staff members to stop working and leave the building so we can create a space for private conversations.”

The previously approved renovations will not include repairs to the roof, which also needs upgrades though it is not actively leaking, Willis said. Roof repairs will be done later, and those funds will come out of a separate Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) account.

The only councilor to cast a dissenting vote, Erin Cough, said she had concerns about renovating the interior of the building before fixing the roof. “There’s no use throwing good money after bad,” she said. “Renovations on the inside of the building are much needed, and it sounds like they’re not enough.”

Fraser told the Islander on Tuesday that he is “preparing to negotiate” with a potential contractor among those who had expressed interest during the RFP process.

Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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