LUBEC, Maine — Work will begin on a memorial to honor Maine and Canadian fisherman who have been lost at sea, now that an initial fundraising goal has been reached, organizers announced.
The Lost Fishermen’s Memorial Association raised more than $100,000 through grants and donations to build a waterfront park and erect a granite monument to memorialize fisherman who have perished in the waters off Washington County, Maine, and Charlotte County, New Brunswick.
The association gave the green light to sculptor Jesse Salisbury of Steuben to order 40 tons of black granite, association vice president Dennis Corso said Friday. The memorial is expected to be installed in the spring of 2015, he said.
“Everybody’s excited,” Corso said. “It’s been a five-year process.”
The Lost Fishermen’s Memorial Park will be located on the Lubec waterfront across from the Mulholland Point Lighthouse on Campobello Island. The yet-to-be-built park already has been designated a scenic turnaround for the Maine Scenic Byways project.
So far, the association has collected the names of 275 fishermen, which will be inscribed on the memorial. The number may climb to 500 or more.
Nine fishermen have been lost at sea in the region since 2008 — seven of them from Washington County communities. The deaths spurred the formation of the association, which began raising funds in 2009.
Earlier this year, the association still was seeking about $35,000 to reach its initial goal. It received a pledge for $10,000 from Bar Harbor Bank and Trust conditional on raising another $25,000 that helped the organization reach its goal, noted Corso. The Washington County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation subsequently donated $5,000.
The association mailed out about 60-70 fundraising letters in recent months to companies and suppliers that do business with fishermen, such as boat builders and others.
“That was pretty lucrative for us,” Corso said. He also singled out a “very generous donation” from Cooke Aquaculture.
However, most donations were small and came from relatives and friends of fishermen who were lost at sea.
“That’s who are constituents are,” Corso said. “You know there are folks who don’t have a lot of money,” he explained. The organization collected $5 and $10 contributions.
The association still needs to raise considerable funds, Corso noted.
The entire project will cost roughly $230,000 to $250,000. That includes inscribing the names of lost fishermen on the memorial, site preparation work and construction of a foundation for the monument and an amphitheater.
For now, the initial benchmark of $100,000 will allow actual fabrication work of the monument to begin.