Contract awarded for Bait House renovation

MOUNT DESERT — The contract for renovating the town-owned Bait House on Dodge Point Road in Seal Harbor has been awarded to H.E. Callahan Construction of Auburn for $232,532.

The Board of Selectmen approved the award last Monday. The board also approved a contingency fund for the project in the amount of $10,972 and

authorized paying Hedefine Engineering & Design of Ellsworth $11,000 to administer the construction contract and inspect the work.

The 22-by-30-foot Bait House, which rests on wooden pilings, was donated to the town by an adjacent property owner in the 1950s for use by local lobstermen. The town leases the Bait House to the Seal Harbor Fishermen’s Association for $1 a year.

Only one lobsterman currently uses the Bait House.

“I expect with the notoriety the project has received, others may step forward,” Public Works Director Tony Smith told the Islander. “I have had a local fisherman express interest in it.”

Voters at the 2019 Town Meeting authorized spending up to $160,000 to bring the Bait House up to code, as required by the town’s insurance carrier. But then town officials learned that, to comply with a local ordinance and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirements, the floor of the building had to be lifted about 4 feet to raise it above flood level. However, because of local and state restrictions, the roof could not be raised, so the slope of the roof needed to be flattened.

Seven contractors were invited to bid on the revised project. The only bid submitted was for $289,716.

At this year’s delayed Town Meeting, in August, voters authorized spending an additional $70,000 for the project, bringing town funding to $230,000.

The project was again put out for bid, and a different contractor, H.E. Callahan, submitted the only bid, for $247,465.

Smith said he and Hedefine then looked for “work items from the renovations that could be deleted from the project and not negatively impact its intent.” That reduced construction costs by about $15,000.

The scope of Hedefine’s services was also reduced, saving $7,500.

Those adjustments, along with the addition of funds for contingency, brought the total project cost to $254,504, which was $24,504 more than the amount of funding that voters had authorized.

To make up the difference, the selectmen last week authorized Smith to draw funds from the Bait House Reserve Funds Account and the town’s Building & Grounds Reserve Funds.

Smith told the Islander that he expects the renovation work to start in the second week of November and to be completed around the end of the year, weather permitting.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent’s office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

Dick Broom

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