The logo for the Town of Southwest Harbor is visible on the municipal building door on May 2, 2022. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

Voters in Southwest Harbor agreed on Thursday to raise what officials hope will be the final piece of money needed for a long-awaited project to extend a sidewalk south along Main Street from the central village.  

The vote, held during a special town meeting at the town’s fire station, was to decide if the town should appropriate an additional $802,769 for the project, which also will include improvements to storm and wastewater sewers along the same section of road, an upgrade to drinking water mains, and the relocation of utility poles.

The measure, decided by a ballot vote, was approved 69-14, according to town office staff. The 83 residents who cast ballots in the vote comprise less than 5 percent of the town’s population, according to 2020 census figures.

The sidewalk improvement project, which will run along Main Street between Apple Lane and Ocean’s End, is expected to cost $2.9 million, according to Town Manager Marilyn Lowell. She said this week that the town anticipates having to take out a $1.8 million bond and then to use other funding sources such as grants for the remaining $1.1 million.

The town has been eyeing the project since 2017, when it was approved for a half-million dollar grant to build a new sidewalk along the west side of the street. Voters have raised money for the project several times going back to May 2019, but have faced escalating costs because of the COVID-19 pandemic and delays from the slow process of getting right-of-way easements from property owners along the road.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....