Bath council OKs freight shed bricks in new sidewalk

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BATH — The City Council gave unanimous consent Wednesday to a proposal from the Bath Freight Shed Alliance to include fundraising bricks in a sidewalk to be constructed along Commercial Street.

The alliance plans to donate the bricks to the city, and have them engraved to raise funds for improvements to the 19th century shed. The group would sell engraved name space on the bricks to charter members as part of its membership drive.

The shed improvements, which could cost between $18,000 and $23,000, include repairs to the building’s Commercial Street-side sill and its foundation wall. The work would be concurrent with excavation of the Commercial Street side of the shed for construction of the sidewalk.

A later project would restore the shed’s exterior.

In a Dec. 19, 2012, letter to the City Council, alliance co-founder Wiebke Theodore said the new sidewalk would be “of great importance” to her group.

“We feel the proposed design will greatly enhance the viewshed of the areas and the Freight Shed itself, while improving the safety of the pedestrian traffic” along the street, Theodore said, adding that the project is a further step in the waterfront area’s development.

Each brick will have one to three engraved lines, with 18-20 spaces on each line.

“Having an area of these bricks in front of the Commercial (Street) entrances to the Freight Shed will enhance the visuals of an upgraded (street) and invite more folks to come into the facility and connect to the Riverside area of the City,” Theodore said.

The sidewalk – to be funded primarily through federal funds distributed by the Maine Department of Transportation – should go out to bid in late spring and be constructed this summer, according to City Planner Andrew Deci.

Replacement of a 170-foot-long sill on the water side of the building started the summer of 2010. Improvements to the roof occurred last summer. The building was also rewired and winterized, which allowed the Bath Winter Farmers Market to move there recently. Students from the Bath Regional Career and Technical Center completed the building’s electrical work.

The shed is also the construction site of the Virginia, a replica of a historic pinnace built at the Popham colony in 1607-1608.

The bricks will cost $150 each, and those interested in purchasing them can e-mail or stop by the market, which runs Saturdays through April from 9 a.m.-noon.

The City Council also tabled until next month a decision about a conservation easement on city-owned land at Butler Head, so that abutters could be notified of the discussion. The city intends to convey the easement to the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.