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Vision for Cold Storage Road property: half recreation, half commercial

By Juliette Laaka | Mar 03, 2016
Photo by: Juliette Laaka The Cold Storage Road property was purchased by the town of St. George to preserve municipal recreational and commercial access to the water. The building pictured here is expected to be demolished in the coming months to create more space.

St. George — Last May, St. George voters approved, by nearly two to one, purchasing a waterfront parcel in Port Clyde with the vision of preserving it for recreational and commercial uses.

The 0.65-acre property at 10 Cold Storage Road is valued at more than $1 million. The town paid $810,000 to the Ulbrich family for the land with the vision of preserving municipal commercial and recreational access to the water. The property abuts the town landing and was rented by Mosquito Island Lobster Co. The company no longer operates from the property, which includes two piers.

David Schmanska, the harbormaster and member of an ad hoc committee formed to investigate options and a development plan for the long-term use of the property, said no major construction work is expected in 2016 or 2017. One of the piers, an earthen wharf, although deemed safe, will need about $350,000 worth of repairs, the harbormaster said.

Prock Marine estimated the work could cost that much in September 2014. Repairs needed include new steel and pilings.

Schmanska said the town is expected to demolish a building that stands on the property to create more space. That area will be used as a recreational access point, to have a picnic, tie up a boat, or throw a line over the wharf, he said. In April, residents will vote on whether to transfer $25,000 from the general fund balance for the demolition and for electrical work. There will be no tax impact on the moving of the funds, said Schmanska.

The plan is for the demolition and electrical work be finished before the summer months so the site can be be used on a limited basis while other work is done, such as a survey of the sea floor, engineering and design plans, and submission of the necessary permits and applications, according to the town newsletter.

The second wharf on the property,  built in 2003, is likely to continue functioning as a commercial wharf, although the specific use, whether as a lobster-buying or urchin-buying business or similar, has not been determined.

The harbormaster said the town is looking to the future, and for future generations to enjoy the property. "It is a worthwhile purchase," he said, adding the town is running out of water access points.

Coastal Waters Management Board Member Michael Cushman told the Select Board at a previous meeting the property provides deep-water access and is conveniently positioned, as it is adjacent to the public wharf.

Additional parking, a second boat launch, and rental opportunities could exist if the town decided to buy the land, Cushman said. St. George could also consider operating a pump station at the site, which would attract tourists who are sailing up the coast.

The meeting is slated for April 9 at 7 p.m. at the Town Office.

Courier Publication's reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Mar 03, 2016 17:17

What a unique idea. Waterfront set aside for local residents. So many commercial docks in the area ave locked out locals. Kudos to the town for providing ocean access to residents.


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