Group Weighs Need for Bar Harbor Parking Garage

BAR HARBOR — A potential parking garage on the site of the town-owned Backyard parking lot would have to add a significant number of public spaces without increasing property taxes, the group studying the issue has determined.

The garage would be constructed and operated in some type of partnership arrangement between the town and Ocean Properties, the hotel company owned by Tom Walsh that recently completed construction of the West Street Hotel.

The potential garage site lies directly behind the hotel. Mr. Walsh is hoping to use the garage for hotel guests, so he can develop property on Rodick Street set aside for that use in a more commercially and aesthetically beneficial direction.

A task force created by the town council and led by council chairman Ruth Eveland has been looking at the issue since the spring. The group is now preparing to engage a consultant to study the idea and present specific financial and other considerations.

Town councilors Tuesday endorsed the idea of contributing up to half the cost of the study. Ocean Properties also will contribute, and the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce is to take up the issue this week.

The council should continue to press forward with the project with all available resources, councilor Bob Garland said.

“It would be a terrible time to start dragging our feet…as long as we’ve been holding our breath for this idea,” he said.

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Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]