January 25, 2020
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Hotelier family donates $500K to Bar Harbor library

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Bar Harbor's Jesup Memorial Library, as seen on May 22, 2018.

A family with Bangor roots that owns and operates one of the largest hotel and resort firms in North America has donated $500,000 to help fund the expansion of the Bar Harbor library.

The gift from the Walsh family, whose Ocean Properties Ltd. portfolio of more than 125 hotels includes several hotels in Bar Harbor, is part of a $9.8 million capital campaign at the Jesup Memorial Library, library officials said in a prepared statement. The campaign aims to raise funds for an endowment for the library, to preserve the building, which was completed in 1911, and to expand to an adjacent lot on the corner of Mount Desert and School streets.

According to Lee Bonta, development director for the library, the gift will allow the library to pay off the mortgage for the adjacent quarter-acre property, which the library bought in 2012 for $760,000.

Mark Walsh said his family’s company is “delighted” to support the library and encourages others to offer substantial support for “this beautiful, historic community and cultural center.”

He cited Jesup Memorial Library, the Criterion Theatre and the Bar Harbor Club on West Street as three historic structures in town worthy of preservation and support.

“The hotels that we built on the downtown waterfront allowed us to save and restore the Bar Harbor Club, a building that my father loves,” Walsh said, referring to Ocean Properties founder and Bangor native Thomas J. Walsh. “Our gift to the Jesup’s capital campaign will help preserve and improve Bar Harbor’s historic library.”

The gift is the largest so far for the library’s current fundraising effort, according to Ron Beard, chair of the library’s board of directors.

“We are talking with several other potential major donors as we prepare for the anticipated full launch of the campaign later this summer,” Beard said.

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