Harpswell eyes funding for Mitchell Field pier assessment

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HARPSWELL — The committee implementing the reuse plan for Mitchell Field is hoping the town can secure a grant to pay for an assessment of the pier at the former U.S. Navy fuel depot. 

The Board of Selectmen on Thursday was expected to authorize the application for a $25,000 Community Development Block Grant.

According to Town Planner Carol Tukey, the grant will be used to analyze the pier to determine if its suitable for development. 

Tukey said selectmen have reviewed the application several times. During its Dec. 17 meeting, the board appeared inclined to support the application.

“Until we know what we have there, we can’t do anything with (the pier),” Selectman Elinor Multor said.

The pier is part of the deep-water access to Mitchell Field, a 119-acre parcel that the town received after the Navy closed the fuel depot. Since then it has become a focal point for town officials and residents, who sometimes differ on its potential use. 

Voters have ratified a master reuse plan for Mitchell Field, but the pier remains an outstanding issue because its condition is uncertain. Tukey said only a cursory study was performed during the drafting of the Mitchell Field Master Plan.

Tukey said the $25,000 grant and assessment would help the town determine how much renovation the pier needs.

“My sense is that it’s fairly structurally sound,” Tukey said. “It’s been holding up quite well, but we don’t know about its condition beneath the surface of the water.”

Selectmen were scheduled to vote on the grant application during their Jan. 7 meeting. Tukey said the town could receive word about the grant in March.

For more information about the Mitchell Field Master Plan visit the town Web site at harpswell.maine.gov.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net