BAR HARBOR, Maine — A $3 million donation to a local hospital has enabled it to buy a building it has been leasing and a neighboring motel.

Ruth and Tristram Colket have donated the money to Mount Desert Island Hospital so it can purchase the Cadillac Mountain Medical Building on Main Street and the Cadillac Motor Inn, hospital officials announced recently in a prepared statement.

The financial gift and subsequent acquisitions of the two properties will help the hospital save money and meet its future needs, hospital officials said.

“This generous donation has allowed us to purchase [the medical building] and save thousands of dollars in lease payments,” MDI Hospital CEO Art Blank indicated in the statement. “When faced with financial challenges such as reimbursement shortfalls and an ongoing debt from the state for services provided to MaineCare patients, the savings we realize from this purchase will help us continue to provide the range of services our community needs.”

The donation is the largest the hospital has received in its 114-year history. The total assessed value of the properties, now owned by Cadillac Management Co. LLC, is approximately the same as the donation, according to the town’s online assessing database.

Tristram Colket Jr., a Campbell’s Soup heir, and his wife, Ruth Colket, are well-known philanthropists on Mount Desert Island. Besides donating often to MDI Hospital, Friends of Acadia and other local organizations, the Colkets also donated to the Maine Sea Coast Mission the former West Street mansion that now houses the mission’s headquarters.

“We’re truly grateful to the Colkets for their generosity and their strong commitment to the health of this community,” Blank said in the statement. “Their gifts have helped us establish a state-of-the-art inpatient care center, and now they’re supporting our community’s need for care in the outpatient setting. Our community is fortunate to have such neighbors.”

Blank wrote in the statement that the hospital has not decided how it might develop the properties, including an unfinished wing of the medical building. The additional space should help the hospital meet the increasing number of health center visits and demand for the hospital’s services, he said.

“Our board feels strongly that purchasing these properties is the right thing to do, for our patients and our community,” Blank indicated. “We need to make sure we’re providing adequate space for patient care and the professionals providing it.”

Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....