The Maine Seacoast Mission announced this week that they intend to sell their headquarters on West Street in Bar Harbor and have begun searching for a new home. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Seacoast Mission eyes major move

BAR HARBOR — The Maine Seacoast Mission is developing plans to move its administrative headquarters out of the Colket Center on West Street here.

In a letter mailed Monday, July 17, President Scott Planting outlined reasons for the move to mission supporters and donors.

“It is with mixed feelings that I tell you that the mission plans to move its administrative headquarters out of its beloved Colket Center in Bar Harbor, which was donated in 1972,” Planting wrote. “Its value having appreciated significantly over the years, we will transform this remarkable asset into valuable support for the mission’s programs and services.”

According to Planting, the mission’s first “headquarters” in 1905 was a house on Ledgelawn Avenue. Mission founders Alexander and Angus McDonald spent much of their time sailing to and from communities on Maine islands on the sloop Hope.

Planting expressed appreciation to Ruth and Tristram Colket, “whose generosity more than four decades ago has provided an outstanding home for the mission’s staff and activities and who have been unwavering supporters over the years.”

Built as a summer home in 1902, the Greek Revival house was donated to the mission in 1972 by the Colkets, along with an endowment for its upkeep. The Colkets also have made major donations over the years for major maintenance and refurbishment projects.

Along with housing offices, and meeting space used by community groups, the Colket Center is home to the mission’s archives and its outreach programs.

Planting wrote that selling the property is a positive step for the mission’s future. Although the waterfront property is tax exempt, the town of Bar Harbor estimates its value at just under $3 million.

“By taking thoughtful and bold actions, such as transforming property into financial resources for programs and services for the future, the Maine Seacoast Mission is building on more than a century of service to Maine communities,” he said.

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Planting said that finding another home base in the Mount Desert Island area would be the focus of the search.” Our intent is to stay in this area,” he said.

The mission’s outreach vessel, Sunbeam, is homeported in Northeast Harbor.

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