After years of planning, and six months of steady fundraising effort, Jean Wheeler of the Bridge End Citizens’ Initiative has announced the group, with the assistance of Maine Coast Heritage Trust, has committed to purchasing the property.
The property in question is a two-acre parcel located at the head of the island where the bridge meets Little Deer Isle, currently owned by Carl and Robin Rosenquist and the site of the former Sisters Restaurant.
The group is still approximately $17,000 shy of the $400,000 needed to purchase the property, but Wheeler said the group and MCHT feel confident enough in the continued support to schedule a closing date on the property some time this month.
More than 140 people have donated, said Wheeler. Locals, summer visitors, former residents and more have put in, she continued. “People from all over have called and sent in notes expressing the devotion they feel toward that particular piece of property,” said Wheeler. “People see that spot and think, ‘I’m home.’”
Wheeler said fundraising efforts will continue, as there is still a bit to go, and anything extra will be used to leverage federal grant money and other grant monies. The Bridge End Citizens’ Initiative group has already applied for a few grants, including a federal grant with a 5 to 1 matching allocation, meaning a dollar raised locally would be matched by five federal dollars. Funds would be used for maintenance and improvements to the pier, parking lot and boat launch.
Once the property is purchased, MCHT will place a public land covenant on it, guaranteeing the property will remain for public use, and then gift the property to the town of Deer Isle.
On August 28, the town’s “Bridge End Committee” will give a public presentation on various ideas and cost projections. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the town hall. The committee includes chairman Loring Kydd, Nancy Knowlton, Tony Eaton, David Hawkins and Brent Morey.
“They have worked really hard,” said Wheeler, who encourages people to attend and bring any questions or ideas they might have to the meeting.
Wheeler said a celebration of the purchase would be scheduled for later this summer.