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Deer Isle, Isle au Haut and Stonington, Maine.
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by Jessica Brophy
Loring Kydd, chair of the Bridge End Citizen’s Initiative Committee, spent all morning on the phone on Election Day, but he wasn’t calling voters. Instead, he was calling the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the Maine Department of Marine Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers.
All of which, Kydd explained, have to sign off on various aspects of the project at the recently purchased and donated Bridge End land on Little Deer Isle.
In late October, the committee received word that the project had been awarded a Small Harbor Improvement Program grant from the Maine Department of Transportation in the sum of $151,000. Another $45,000 raised through private donations as matching funds bring the total available for the project to $196,000.
While the committee helped raise funds, researched options for the property and applied for the grant, the Deer Isle selectmen make all final decisions on the project, including signing off on accepting the grant.
Deer Isle Selectman Lew Ellis said he thinks it’s wonderful the town received the grant. “Maine Coast Heritage Trust raised $400,000 to buy the property, and another $45,000 for the matching funds,” said Ellis, who noted that the town is now authorized to spend that $45,000 plus the MDOT’s $151,000 on improvements, though it will likely be a year before work begins.
That sum will be spent on installing a new boat launch ramp, parking improvements, the removal of the current pier and the replacement of that pier by a series of floats. The work, according to the grant agreement from the MDOT, will be performed by the municipality (or whomever it contracts) to state-approved standards.
“The committee is thrilled,” said Kydd, who said the competition was “intense” for the funds, given the state of the economy.
Ellis expects the work to begin next fall, as the MDOT prefers to work from November through April and several permits need to be gathered. “Government sometimes works slow, as we all know,” said Ellis.
Other decisions about the property, such as what to do about the former Sisters Restaurant building, will be made in the future by the committee with the selectmen’s approval, said Ellis.
“It’s very exciting,” said Ellis. “We live on an island, and we didn’t have good shore access in Deer Isle. This will be commercial and recreational,” he said.