Tremont property now the town’s for public use

TREMONT — Whatever the future holds for Tremont Consolidated School, be it a larger facility or a new building elsewhere in town, the eight and a half acres it sits on will continue to be in the hands of the town for public use.

At the Tuesday night select board meeting, Town Manager Chris Saunders and AOS 91 Superintendent Marc Gousse signed a quitclaim deed from the United States of America, representing Acadia National Park, for the school property. Wording in the deed focused on changing restrictions on it from for school use only to “public ownership for recreational, education or similar public purposes.”

If at any time the property is not being used for public purposes, ownership of it reverts to the United States of America, according to the deed.

In 2011, when discussions regarding possible school consolidation began, Tremont’s town manager Millard Billings contacted the national park to see if use of the school land ever changed, it could remain in the hands of the town to use for community purposes.

Nine years later, because of a law that passed in 2019 which allows the park service to execute a deed allowing the property to be used for public purposes, as long it does not adversely impact the resources or values of Acadia National Park, the change became possible.

Up until 1950, the eight acres of property located between Marsh Creek and Marsh Road, according to the deed, were owned by the national park service. At that time, a public law was passed allowing it to be transferred to the town as a site on which to build a new school. A year later in 1951, the town conveyed the property to the Tremont School District, which later became part of the Mount Desert Island School District.

In 2018, prior to construction beginning on the bridge located next to the school that goes over Marshall Brook Creek (Marsh Creek, according to the deed), the state decided to take it over through eminent domain in order to use it for a bypass bridge during the construction project. Because of the previous deed’s restrictions that the property be for school use only, the bridge construction project was delayed while officials figured out how to proceed properly. Construction on that bridge was completed at the end of 2019.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

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

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