MOUNT DESERT, Maine — For the first time in several decades, the local public marina in the village of Northeast Harbor is getting a major face-lift.
The piers and docks in Northeast Harbor aren’t being changed, but the parking area and access roads are being redone and three new buildings are going up, Town Manager Durlin Lunt said Monday. The $2.2 million project, which local voters approved last year, is being funded with marina revenues, not property taxes, Lunt said.
Shawn Murphy, the town’s harbor master, has said that the redesigned marina facilities are expected to be more user-friendly and will provide safer waterfront access for pedestrians and vehicles.
Ellsworth general contracting firm E.L. Shea began work in early September, though the pace has picked up as good weather has prevailed since the tourism season waned in October, Lunt said Monday.
Foundations have been poured for a new harbor master’s office, a new visitor’s center, and a new yachting facilities building, Lunt said. The yachting facilities building will be built on the site of the old one, at the northern end of the marina area, while the visitor’s center and harbor master’s office are going up where parking spaces and an access road used to be.
The visitor’s center will be where people can buy tickets for the commercial ferries and tour boats that operate out of Northeast Harbor and find information about local businesses throughout Mount Desert, Lunt said.
The yachting facilities building will have showers and a reading room for people staying on boats in the harbor.
The new harbor master’s office will be bigger and more energy efficient than the current office, according to Lunt. He estimated that the existing harbor master’s building is maybe 1,000 square feet in size, but said the new one will have 1,500 square feet of floor space.
“It’s going to be far more functional than it is [now],” Lunt said.
According to the town manager, the village veteran’s memorial and tennis courts will stay where they are, though the parking area next to the courts will be extended further south, toward the Kimball Terrace Inn.
Vehicle access to the ferry pier and boat ramp will be through the existing parking area by the tennis courts or from the end of Harbor Road that loops around in front of the Kimball Terrace Inn. A new Island Explorer bus stop will be located on a new traffic loop that will be built just east of the tennis courts.
Lunt said the goal is to have the project completed by the end of June 2012.
“Everything should be put back together by the time crowds arrive,” the town manager said.