Over the last 5 years, the VIA has spent $150,000 repairing and improving 1200 feet of the Shore Path. This work included resurfacing the gravel path and rebuilding seawalls. A new bench commemorating the donor of Glen Mary Park, Mary Shannon, was installed in the fall of 2014. Construction to widen a 1000 foot stretch of the Shore Path in front of the Bar Harbor Inn was completed in the fall of 2015 and resulted in a much wider and safer path. The VIA has pledged another $30,000 to improve the path in front of Grant Park which will be redone in coordination with the redevelopment of the Park possibly in the fall of 2017.
The VIA is responsible for the Town Clock next to the Village Green, and we recently had it restored, cleaned and repainted. We also maintain a fund to keep the two town fountains (on the Village Green and in Agamont Park) in working order. In 2013 we helped with the funding to refurbish the Veterans Memorial on the Village Green. We added a new 13′ by 2′ by 6″ pink granite cap in the fall of 2015 which was donated by Jeff Gammelin of Freshwater Stone and Brick Work.
In 2016 we updated our website, added a photo gallery and produced a 60 second ad promoting the VIA and celebrating 135 years of service to the community. This ad aired on the Acadia Chanel throughout the season. A heartfelt thank you goes out to Dobbs Productions for their generosity in producing this ad at no cost to us. Five 3 by 2 foot black and white framed posters were produced depicting the VIA’s 135 year history.
In June we replaced the 4 Shore Path signs, the Village Burial Grounds sign and added first time signage in Glen Mary Park and Woodbury Park. The new signs are weather resistant, 75% smaller than the old signs and require only a single post rather than two.
In 2017 more cutting back of growth and widening of the Shore Path was completed. For the first time in decades the entire length of the path is now a minimum of 6 feet wide which makes it much safer and more enjoyable to walk.
Jeff Dobbs and Bing Miller produced a 7 minute video depicting the history of the VIA since its inception in 1881. This will be a nice asset to have for our archives and general promotion.
The VIA offered to donate $50,000 to help make upgrades to the MDOT Route 3 multi-use path. It was originally thought the funds might be used as seed money for lighting and upgrading the path material (concrete in lieu of asphalt). It is now felt our funds would best be used improving these same elements between West Street and Harbor Lane, since this is as far as our money will stretch. This section is very important, aesthetically speaking, being the gateway to the village of Bar Harbor.
At our annual spring meeting a $5000 grant was approved for the Park Street Playground to help with their $195,000 renovation project. Grants we make, in accordance with our mission, must be used for general beautification, and in this case the funds were used for landscaping and fencing. Grant Park got a face lift and we helped by donating $30,000 to the project. It looks very nice.
It is with a heavy heart I report we lost one of our biggest supporters and lifetime VIA member David Witham who passed away in November. Our condolences to his family. We know his son David Jr. will carry on his good work.
It’s 2018 and we continue to wait for the Town to agree to accept our money to upgrade the 10 foot wide multi-use path between Harbor Lane and West St. The town informed us the additional cost for us will be approximately $16,000 for a concrete sidewalk, which we readily agreed to. We are in hopes of doing a small park just inside this area and are working with the land owner to obtain a 99 year lease. This would really help dress up the entrance to our village. The lot has been vacant since the Fire of ’47. It could be called “DeGregoire Gardens” or “The Garden of Eden”. Granite benches in honor of Gladys O’Neil and Les Brewer will be included in this new park or Grant Park. We would greatly appreciate donations to help launch this project. Contributions can be made on our donation page.
A small portion of seawall washed out on the south end of the Shore Path in a spring storm. It was repaired but should be replaced by a new concrete seawall in the near future. It is one of the few remaining sections that is still stone and easily undermined. Replacing the seawall would also greatly help with access for maintenance and repairs. Now it’s almost impossible to service this end of the path. In the past, replacing a 100 foot section of seawall cost around $30,000.