KITTERY, Maine — The Wood Island Life Saving Station Association is gearing up for another construction season with hopes to at least complete the entire exterior restoration of the old Coast Guard station by the end of summer.
In preparation for the work the association, commonly referred to as WILSSA, is opening up two contracts for general contractors to bid on. According to WILSSA President Sam Reid, one contract is the “materials and service” bid to cover the cost to order windows, shingles, siding and doors and also services such as a project manager, marine engineer, a museum designer, an electrical and plumbing planner and historic paint analyzer. Reid said the second bid is called “repair phase 2” for a contractor to come in and install the materials.
“By the end of the summer we aim to have the entire exterior complete,” Reid said. “If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to make serious headway on the interior to be in the best possible position to finish project in the summer of 2018.”
The one snag WILSSA may hit is being able to secure a $200,000 National Maritime Heritage Grant from the National Park Service, according to Reid. He said WILSSA has already raised the matching funds between $25,000 donations from Kennebunk Savings Bank and the Davis Family Foundation and the rest from an anonymous donor. Reid said WILSSA’s budget for this stage of the project is $400,000.
“We need this grant to be able to complete all of the work we need to get done this summer,” Reid said. “However, depending on how long this gets dragged out it might delay the start of our work and could bump us up against the end of our construction calendar, which weather dependent, can’t go much further beyond the first week in October.”
However, Reid said the Trump administration’s delay in hiring more administrators in the Department of the Interior, which runs the National Park Service, has delayed the awarding of the National Maritime Heritage Grant. According to Reid, the grant is normally given out in April. WILSSA secured the Maritime Heritage Grant in 2015 and used it for the first stage of the restoration.
In response, Reid said he is encouraging possible bidders to consider a charitable donation of materials. He said the group is looking to fill the void with private donations should the Park Service grant be delayed too far into the spring and early summer.
The final hurdle for WILSSA to jump in its efforts to restore the Coast Guard station will be the completion of seawalls, a pier and the restoration of the historic marine railroad, which would become the only operational one in the country upon completion, before the facility opens as a maritime museum in the spring of 2019, Reid said.
In order to help with this stage, Reid said WILSSA has applied to the Department of Defense to invite various military branches to participate in an innovative readiness training (IRT)…