Museum owner seeks to buy Snow Marine Park building

By Stephen Betts | Dec 11, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts Capt. Jim Sharp wants to buy the former Sea Scout building from Rockland.

Rockland — Captain Jim Sharp made another pitch Monday night, Dec. 10, for the City Council to sell him the former Sea Scout building at Snow Marine Park that is in need of extensive repairs.

But there was mixed reaction from city councilors to Sharp's overture.

Sharp -- who owns and operates the adjacent Sail, Power & Steam Museum -- said he wants to use the building as a clubhouse for a youth sailing program that will run out of the museum's property.

He said getting youth interested in sailing is important for the heritage of the community and the long-term success of the museum.

Sharp has been paying $3,000 a year to lease the building for the past several years. He had also leased it from 2008 through 2010 for a restaurant, but stopped, citing the economic downturn of the time.

During the past few years, a kayak rental business has shared the use of the building with the museum.

Sharp also asked to buy the building in January 2014, but the council took no action on that request.

The building is in poor condition, Sharp said, with a leaking roof. He said exterior work is needed and there is sewer work that is needed. He had a bathroom installed in the building a few years ago, but the sewage flows to the pump station on his property.

Sharp said he is willing to pay eight years' worth of lease payments to purchase the building -- $24,000.

Rockland City Manager Tom Luttrell said there is leaking around the chimney. In addition, he said the city will need to spend about $10,000 for exterior repairs and those will likely be done in the spring with the help of workers from the Bolduc Correctional Center.

The manager acknowledged that the sewer line from the building goes to Sharp's property, and if the city retains the building it will have to consider installing a small pump station to send the sewage to the Mechanic Street line.

Councilor Valli Geiger said she had no interest in selling the city-owned property, but she would consider a continued lease.

Councilor Amelia Magjik said she was not opposed to selling the property.

Councilor Benjamin Dorr said it appears the city has not been a good landlord, and he would like to see a financial review of leasing versus selling.

The building was originally part of a lumber company on the grounds where the Maine State Ferry Terminal parking lot is located. The building was used for more than 20 years as the headquarters of the youth Sea Scouts.

In April 1983, the city moved the building to its current location.

Comments (7)
Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Dec 13, 2018 10:21

I wish to update and correct my comment made yesterday.  After gaining additional information I have changed my position.  It was stated in the story Mr. Sharp wishes to purchase old "sea scouts building"  incorrect.  he wishes to purchase LAND and BUILDING.  Selling the land to Mr. Sharp would be a mistake.  It would limit any future expansion  of snow marine park.  I think it would be fine for Mr. Sharp to purchase the building and MOVE it onto his property.  Also I was in error stating his museum was a commercial business when in fact it is a "non-profit" just like the other "freeloader" the farnsworth.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Dec 12, 2018 09:14

I fondly remember working with "Puff" Perry who ran the Sea Scout program back in the early 90's.  The building was old then and in disrepair. If it's going to cost the city 10K to fix it and of course it will be more than that (at taxparers expense) and Jim Sharp is willing to give the City $24,000 why not.  Jim has done a lot to rejuvenate the area and has a wonderfull museum.  We have always praised the Farnsworth an organization that has never contributed a dime. ( Yes, please don't tell me again how much the farnsworth does for the city).  Boo, who, who.  The City has NEVER encouraged business development.  They generally do everything in their power to push business away.  I say sell the building and let someone make money with it.  Maybe he could move it as well.

Posted by: Ian Emmott | Dec 12, 2018 07:16

This reminds me of the American Pickers show. City needs to sell but every time the City gets interest in something from somebody the response is the same.... Nope, not ready to sell that one yet. Meanwhile it sits and rots further. Just let it go.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Dec 11, 2018 21:22

I say that the more real estate the city can get rid off, the better.  I do not believe that any city government should be in a major real estate business, such as Rockland is. The city government really needs to look at the property it owns and start selling off the property for housing since they think Rockland needs more.

Posted by: Kathryn Fogg | Dec 11, 2018 16:25

If the City is reluctant to sell its property at that location, wouldn't it be cheaper for Jim to build new rather than rehabing the old building?  Could the place where he has his tent instead hold a multipurpose building to serve both of Jim's purposes. While his plan would certainly make a more atttactive building, it is the land that holds the real value.  Giving it up might hamper the City in future plans for the area. This might be what they are concerned about. What about letting Jim repair and own the building  without paying rent for a certain number of years but for the City to retain ownership of the land? Isn't that what is done similarly in our forest lands owned by paper companies?

Posted by: James Clinton Leach | Dec 11, 2018 15:05

This is news the City is even considering selling the property, it might be better to rehab the structure and offer public rest rooms and perhaps changing rooms w/ showers  for a fee of course........

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Dec 11, 2018 14:43

It would be sad to see a HUGE commercial project there but with time passing someone should find a solution for all. Tourist's leave big cities to enjoy the smallness of Maine life as it is. But slowly it is becoming just like the cities they came from. Please compromise and leave a heritage of "OLD" for the children!

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