BAR HARBOR — The town of Bar Harbor now owns the Eden Street ferry terminal property, Town Manager Cornell Knight announced to town councilors Tuesday.
The town’s purchase of the property from the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) was finally formally executed last Thursday, Jan. 31. The purchase of the terminal makes it possible for the town to enter into a five-year lease agreement for a portion of the terminal property with Bay Ferries’ American affiliate, Atlantic Fleet Services.
“We’re moving forward,” Annette Higgins of Atlantic Fleet Services confirmed Wednesday morning, “and intend to sign the lease next week.”
Demolition of some of the structures on the property began a couple of weeks ago, with the permission of MDOT, in anticipation of the sale closing and lease with Atlantic. But new construction requires approval from the town’s planning board.
A public hearing is planned for Feb. 27 on the site plan application for renovation of the existing ferry terminal facility to meet current U.S. Customs and Border Patrol standards. The site plan also proposes to “install new docking and loading ramps within the existing marine structure.”
Water and electric usage and use of sewer lines are anticipated to be “similar to historic conditions.” The application proposes to maintain the existing water and sewer fixtures “to the greatest extent possible.”
Underground electricity, phone, and cable lines will be replaced.
Bay Ferries historically used the whole ferry terminal site, which is roughly six acres, when the company operated international ferry service here between 1997 and 2009.
“The proposed layout will utilize a much smaller portion of the inland site and only one docking location, opening the remainder of the site to be used by the Town of Bar Harbor for parking and public marine uses,” according to application materials.
The site plan application also includes a letter from Bay Ferries saying the Province of Nova Scotia “will ultimately bear responsibility for the costs of readying the Bar Harbor facility for ferry service in accordance with the terms of our proposed lease” with the town, even though the company expects the costs to exceed the $3 million originally planned for the work.