Joe DiBella of Weyers Painting in York works on the exterior of the new Long Sands Beach Bathhouse in York on Friday, May 25, 2018. Credit: Rich Beauchesne | The York Weekly

YORK, Maine — With summer just around the corner, work is nearing completion at the Long Sands Bathhouse and an opening date, although still uncertain, is likely by mid-June.

Contractor Glenn Farrell of YFI Custom Homes in York is expected to meet a June 1 deadline and the building is on track to get a temporary occupancy permit by then, said Parks and Recreation Director Mike Sullivan.

“You have to remember, he didn’t even start this until early December, and he’s really close to wrapping it up,” said Sullivan. “You can’t do better than that, especially when you consider we had three nor’easters last winter.”

Safe public access to the bathhouse will be dictated by completion of a new sidewalk in front of the building, and public works Superintendent Dean Lessard said it will take several weeks after the bathhouse work crew leaves for that work to be completed.

“We are doing what we can simultaneously and working around them when possible, but there’s still weeks of work ahead to make the area safe,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Bathhouse Building Committee is planning to launch a public campaign next month to raise funds for amenities like benches, a porch swing and a flagpole. The committee is awaiting word from selectmen for approval of that plan.

“June is going to be the month where we raise the money and hopefully before the end of June it will be finished,” said chairman Jim Bartlett.

Sullivan said the bathhouse is “a lot farther along than people think it is.” The toilets, urinals and sinks are installed and plumbing work is completed, he said. “Everything is working,” he said.

There has been a concerted push by Farrell and subcontractors to “dot the I’s and cross the T’s.” They worked over the Memorial Day weekend, he said, “and if you go down there today, you can see there’s a major amount of work going on,” he said.

He said Code Enforcement Officer Amber Harrison visited the bathhouse late last week and indicated she would likely be issuing a temporary occupancy permit by the end of this week, said Sullivan.

Lessard said Tuesday while the bathhouse may be ready to open by Friday or early next week, his crew has several weeks of work ahead to install the sidewalks and access into the building itself. “My recommendation will be that we don’t open it to the public until we can provide safe access,” he said.

As for the landscaping and amenities, the Bathhouse Building Committee is awaiting word from the Wheeler Trust about a $41,000 grant application that would pay for the landscaping, including low-maintenance plantings such as northern bayberry, sumac and ornamental grasses, and areas with pavers so people can get to the beach easily.

The Parks and Recreation Department expected to hear by the end of April about whether the trust had approved the grant, but there has been no word. If the grant is not forthcoming, Sullivan said, the parks crew would loam and seed the areas.

The committee intends to launch a campaign for the amenities on site. The idea is to provide “gifting opportunities” for the various big-ticket items, which range in price from $1,000 to $10,000 or more, as well as to launch a public donation campaign through a crowdsourcing site.

“I think we’re going to do a lot of things simultaneously,” said Bartlett. “We’ve already received inquiries for information about donations from families who have ties to York Beach. And I think we’re going to hear from a lot of those kinds of people.”

The fundraising proposals must be approved by the Board of Selectmen. Because the board has endorsed the plan generally in the past, said Bartlett, committee members were hoping an informal email poll of members would suffice. But as of Tuesday, the committee had only heard back from Selectman Liz Blanchard, said Sullivan. The board doesn’t meet until June 11.

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