WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bill that would allow 55 acres of “orphan” Acadia National Park land in the Town Hill area of Bar Harbor to be developed for workforce housing was passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources July 21.
The bill was introduced by Maine Sen. Angus King, who is a member of the committee and chairs its subcommittee on national parks, and was co-sponsored by Maine Sen. Susan Collins. It now goes to the full Senate, probably as part of a package with other bills.
If the bill is passed by the Senate and House and is signed by the president, 40 of the 55 acres would be conveyed to the town of Bar Harbor, which would work with Island Housing Trust to develop workforce housing for the community. Acadia would use the remaining 15 acres to build housing for some of its seasonal employees.
The Town Hill parcel is not adjacent to any other park land and Acadia has no other use for it. There is currently no public access.
“From the National Park to Bar Harbor businesses, every part of MDI’s economy is currently feeling the squeeze of a significant affordable worker housing shortage, causing businesses to run limited hours or even shut their doors completely,” King said in a press release from his office.
“This bipartisan bill will directly address the housing crisis facing the community and create more year-round and seasonal staff housing for both the park and the island’s towns. Along with helping businesses hire and retain workers, it will give more of the island’s people the ability to live and work in the place they love.”