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Ground broken for waterfront museum expansion

By Stephen Betts | Sep 13, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts Jim and Meg Sharp conducted the ceremonial groundbreaking of an expansion of the Sail Power & Steam Museum in Rockland Sept. 11.

Rockland — Captains Jim and Meg Sharp turned the first shovel of dirt Sept. 11 for the largest expansion to the Sail Power and Steam Museum.

The expansion will consist of a 4,000-square-foot building that will be used for boat storage and display of items. The building is expected to be ready for occupancy in late summer 2021.

Jim Sharp, alongside his wife, Meg, stood in front of an excavator that will soon be used for the earth work for the expansion.

"I've been in the sailing business for 40 years and had a lot of memorabilia leftover. My wife told me to get some of the stuff out of the house so I decided to open a museum," he joked.

The couple, through their company Sharp's Point South, purchased in 2007 a 2.5 acre waterfront parcel from the Hurricane island outward Bound School. In 2008, part of the property was transferred to the museum that opened in 2009.

There have been small additions over the past 11 years, but the new building will be the largest.

Jim Sharp pointed out he wanted to create a maritime museum to celebrate Rockland's history, pointing out in the 1800s, Rockland was the fourth largest seaport in the U.S. due to the schooner fleet that carried cargo and people around the world.

"There was a veritable parade of sailing vessels going back and forth in Rockland," he said.

The museum also recognized the current schooners that work in Penobscot Bay.

Capt. Jim Sharp said he will be turning 88 next year when the addition is completed.

The architect for the project is 2A Architects of West Rockport and the general contractor is Pendleton Builders. The project is estimated to cost $700,000.

There was opposition to the project from a handful of Mechanic Street neighbors, who said it would block their view of the harbor. There was also support for the project from some neighbors and other people in the community.

The museum had annual expenses of $153,000 in 2018 — that included $84,000 in occupancy costs — with revenues of $200,000.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Sep 13, 2020 09:59

Wish that my Dad and Bert Snow had lived long enough to see this happen.  Would be nice to see 2021 Lobster Festival honor this couple while they are both still with us. :)



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Sep 13, 2020 06:01

So nice to see local businesses being used for this project.  Thank you Jim and Meg Sharp for hiring local businesses for your expansion.



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