Selectmen set a price for town garage

SOUTHWEST HARBOR  After voters decided against a proposed $1.85 million town garage at the 2020 Town Meeting, the Board of Selectmen has struggled with how to move forward. 

During their Tuesday meeting, the first with interim Town Manager Dana Reed, members of the board suggested setting a price of $1.5 million and seeing what they could get for that amount.  

At the end of 2020, an Infrastructure Committee was formed in order to explore options for constructing a new town garage and to make recommendations to the Board of Selectmen. 

“I can see why you want to replace the garage,” Reed said to the board, noting its sagging roof and drainage problems. “I’m really looking for some direction since this seems to be a high priority for the town.” 

Members of the Infrastructure Committee met with the owner of Coastal Maine General Contracting who submitted the lowest bid of $1,854,153 for the project. During that meeting, the owner offered to go over plans for the garage and provide cost savings for the project but wanted some kind of compensation or guarantee that his company would retain the bid.  

After discussing this update at a January meeting, the Board of Selectmen remained at a standstill and asked the Infrastructure Committee to come back with a recommendation of what action they should take.  

“Maybe you could set it up to be phased,” Reed offered as an option. “Maybe in a few years you can add onto it. You definitely need to do something with that building.” 

Currently the building, located at the public works property on Seal Cove Road, is insured for liability only. Former Town Manager Justin VanDongen said this winter was to be the last time vehicles were stored in the building because of its condition.  

“It’s just not in good shape,” said Reed, noting mildew on the chipboard walls of the building. “It’s not going to last forever.” 

Resident Don Lodge, a retired construction engineer, offered to join the Infrastructure Committee to help figure out where there could be cost savings with the current design. That design is available for public view on the town’s website. Members of the board voted unanimously to have Lodge join the committee.  

“I think it can be improved considerably and be made a little bit smaller but keep the same functions that Scott (Alley) needs,” said Lodge during the meeting, referring to the town’s public works foreman.  

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

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

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