MOUNT DESERT — The cost of extending the northernmost floats at the Northeast Harbor Marina to provide a new berth for the Maine Sea Coast Mission’s vessel, Sunbeam, has risen from $260,000 to $370,000 – an increase of 42 percent.
Harbormaster John Lemoine told the Board of Selectmen Monday night that the extra $110,000 is needed to substitute steel pilings for the wooden ones called for in the original design.
“When we had the core drilling done, they found over 50 feet of mud to get to bedrock,” Lemoine said. “The longest piling has to be over 70 feet, and they just don’t make wooden pilings that long, so we had to go to steel.”
He said the pilings need to rest on the bedrock to ensure that the float extension is strong and stable.
“Sunbeam is a very large vessel,” he said. “We need to hold that thing in place and make sure that if anything goes wrong, it’s not going to take out the whole marina.”
Voters at town meeting last spring approved the use of $260,000 from the marina’s undesignated funds account for the float expansion project. A proposal to use another $110,000 from that account will be on the warrant for town meeting this May. That would still leave more than $1 million in that account.
Lemoine said that if voters approve the use of additional funds for the float extension, construction likely will begin in September.
The T-shaped addition will consist of a 38-foot extension from the end of the existing north float and an 86-foot finger float that will be perpendicular to the extension.
The Sunbeam’s berth will be on the outer side of the new float. There will be two slips on the inside that the town can rent for pleasure craft. Lemoine has estimated those slips can generate $20,000 to $30,000 in revenue a year.
Northeast Harbor is the home port for Sunbeam, which the mission uses to provide “spiritual, health and youth development programs” to coastal and island communities. The vessel has been berthed beside the concrete pier at the marina since 1995.
But the harbormaster and marine management committee say that space is needed for lobster boats and other commercial craft.