SOUTHWEST HARBOR — It has been four years since the idea of reconstructing a portion of the Main Street sidewalk was first brought to selectmen by then Town Manager Don Lagrange.
Finally, the state’s Department of Transportation is ready to move forward, according to Interim Town Manager Dana Reed.
While members of the Board of Selectmen expressed support for getting the project started, they asked Reed if he could provide a thorough update of the financial situation surrounding the project before anything is decided.
“I don’t really know what numbers the town has raised for this project,” said Selectman George Jellison during the board’s meeting on Feb. 9. “I think we went to Town Meeting twice to get the money for this project.”
When Lagrange originally brought the sidewalk improvement project before the Board of Selectmen in March 2017, he said the town had been awarded $498,500 in grant funds from the MDOT. At that time, the project that is slated to replace the sidewalk on the west side of Main Street from Apple Lane to Village at Oceans End was estimated at a cost of $842,000, with nearly $350,000 coming from the town.
In February 2019, former Town Manager Justin VanDongen told the board in an update for the project that the cost had grown to about $1.325 million. He anticipated the town would need to vote to approve a bond for at least $800,000 to complete the project.
At the meeting on Feb. 9, Reed said the state was asking the town to sign a grant agreement for $209,500. “This is just for the drainage improvement project,” he explained. Reed also said the town needed to take care of several items, including getting permits, in order to initiate the project.
“We’d like to get this before the public in May if we need to ask for more money,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Kristin Hutchins during the meeting.
A recently released MDOT three-year transportation infrastructure work plan listed the 0.2 of a mile portion of sidewalk in Southwest Harbor as one of its priorities.