September 23, 2020
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Southwest Harbor firehouse nears completion

SOUTHWEST HARBOR – After a couple of years of planning, the town’s new $1.1 million fire station is almost complete, according to a local official.

Ken Minier, town manager for Southwest Harbor, said Friday he expects the new facility off Main Street to be mostly complete within the next couple of weeks, a month ahead of schedule. He said it should be ready for the town to use as a polling station in the statewide elections on Nov. 7.

“I’m pretty sure we’re going to be under budget,” Minier said. “I think it won’t be until spring that we have an official opening.”

The project was budgeted for $1,130,000 but just $1,099,000 has been spent to date, he said. The $1.1 million price tag includes not just building costs but permitting and design work as well.

The fire department’s move from its current site on the first floor of the town office will likely take awhile, Minier said, because the volunteer firefighters will have to fit it in during their spare time.

How the town will use the vacated space in the town office has not been determined, he said, but the now-cramped local police department surely will get to use some of it. Other uses may include year-round public bathrooms and fireproof vault space for town records, he said.

“They need that real bad,” Minier said of the police department’s space woes. “It’s a real thrill to have that [new fire station].”

In other business, Code Enforcement Officer Stephen Wilson has submitted his resignation, effective Oct. 13. Minier said Wilson is leaving to take a position with local building contractor John Goodwin.

“I have received an offer for a position in the construction field that offers me a great future,” Wilson wrote in his resignation letter. Wilson, who lives in Bucksport, was not in the town office Friday afternoon and was unavailable for comment.

“I hate to see him go,” Minier said. “I sure tried to talk him out of it and I wish him good luck.”

Minier said that after Oct. 13, former CEO Lewis Hutchins will be in the town office each Thursday to help pick up the slack while the town searches for a new CEO. He said he was unsure how long it might take to fill the position.

“I have no idea,” the town manager said. “I would say it normally would take a couple of months.”

Correction: A shorter version of this article ran in the Final edition.

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