The former funeral home on Prospect Avenue is torn down earlier this month to make way for a new electrical substation planned for the property. PHOTO COURTESY OF EMERA MAINE

Work begins on new substation

BAR HARBOR — Site work has begun for a new electrical substation at the site of the former Jordan Fernald funeral home. Emera Maine closed on the purchase of properties at 6 and 14 Prospect Ave. earlier this month and demolished the funeral home building, project manager Kendra Overlock said.

Emera purchased the two properties for $746,000, she said. The value of the property and buildings on both lots is assessed by the town at $749,100. They most recently housed residential tenants – two apartments in the former funeral home building and one unit in the small structure at 14 Prospect. All the tenants had moved out before the end of August.

The small building will be left standing, Overlock said. “At this point, it is staying. It’s not really part of the footprint of the substation, and it has some historical significance. It was the original potting shed and greenhouse from the McCormick estate, we have learned from the neighbors. We’re working with them to determine the best approach.”

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A new carriage house stable design for a planned electrical substation on Prospect Avenue. The design was the result of collaboration with the owners of the abutting historic property and advisory committee members, Emera representatives said. IMAGE COURTESY OF EMERA MAINE

Overlock and project manager Jim Brooks communicate regularly with a group of more than 50 residents on a citizen advisory board that helped choose the Prospect site for the project.

“Over the ensuing weeks and months, you will see earthwork, concrete foundation and ductwork, building and equipment construction (including panels and building design features to reduce noise) and line connections,” Overlock and Brooks wrote in an email to the group last week. “Last month, many of you saw the carriage house stable design that was the result of our collaboration with the owners of the abutting historic property. We plan to start that phase of building construction next spring. Our plan is to have an operable substation in June 2016.”

Emera has not yet engaged a contractor for the structural work, Overlock said, but they’re working with architects at the Colby Company in Portland. “They’re based in Maine and have done this type of work,” she said. “I’m not aware of anything else exactly like this in the state, but there are similar substations in Portland designed to blend in with the commercial district.”

Further along in the process, a landscaping plan will be created. “We’ll go out to some local experts to help us with that,” Overlock said. Emera also continues to consult with a firm in Portland on environmental permitting and compliance issues.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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