A personal touch

Kudos to Lydia Goetze, chairman of the Southwest Harbor Board of Selectmen, for the thoughtfulness and persistence with which she helped secure the offer for sale to the town of an important property.

Earlier this year, town officials were growing discouraged about attempts to purchase or extend the lease on the 0.38 acre parcel on the Shore Road, adjacent to the Manset Town Dock.

The town had been leasing the undeveloped waterfront lot from owner Carolyn Hook of Massachusetts for many years, but town leaders worried about what would happen if the owner decided not to renew the lease. The property is seen as essential to preserving a working waterfront there. The 2010 comprehensive plan recommended that the town purchase the lot.

Attempts to contact the owner had not been successful. The Harbor Committee and selectmen discussed whether taking the land by eminent domain might be an option, but no one was comfortable with that tack.

Then Goetze decided to try reaching out to the owner in a more personal way.

“I wanted to write her a letter that I would want to get if I were in her shoes,” Goetze said.

She wrote two letters, pointing out some things she and Hook have in common and offering to meet in person or talk on the phone. Hook responded to the second letter and agreed to sell the property for its appraised value.

Following approval from voters at a special town meeting last month, the purchase is set to move forward.

And Goetze has earned another large measure of respect from her neighbors for the dignified, caring way she went about making that connection.

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