Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bury the Power Lines?

Is there any appetite for lobbying the Selectmen to add burying the power lines to the Main St. reconstruction project?  Please let me know what you think by replying to this blog.

My interest is driven primarily by aesthetics, though I expect there could also be some practical and economical arguments made in favor of the idea.  The Town Manager has gotten an estimate from Bangor Hydo of $1400/1000 feet, or $1.4 million dollars to bury the power lines.  I don't expect this covers the individual businesses' costs to get the power then from the street to buildings, plus adding this item may lengthen the time for completion.

Still, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I think it would transform the appearance of the Town!  When I first moved back home to Southwest Harbor in 2002, I was discouraged to see a number of empty store fronts.  Since then, I see the storefronts occupied, at least in summer, and I have seen some significant improvements to the Town's appearance beginning with the upgrades to the Park for Southwest Harbor's 2002 Centennial.  The First has expanded and given itself a major facelift making the sight from Clark Pt. Road much more pleasing; McEachern's has an entirely new building, Bar Harbor Bank and Trust had a new facade plus lovely landscaping,  the Salty Dog Gallery maintains an attractive front.  Alyen's windows always look lovely and they keep them dressed in the winter when they are closed which makes the street more cheerful  The Library always looks nice and there are more and more flowers, and dressed window boxes up and down Main St.  Sawyer's Specialties is one of my favorites, and Cafe Drydock maintains beautiful window boxes.  I also like the bright colors on the front of Pizazz next to the Park.

Further north, we have several homeowners doing a nice job keeping their Main St. properties including a couple of cosmetic improvements and one complete rebuild.  Village Washtub looks very nice.  And there are of course, the elms.

In short, our independent business owners have done a whole lot with very little and in spite of the economy!

I like to imagine this stretch of road uncluttered by power lines.  Any town I have ever visited where they had done this, looked amazing.  I think it would go a long way to making the Quietside an attractive place to visit and live.

I'd like to see the Selectmen offer this as an addition to the project should the voters like to approve it.  But the idea will need strong public support to make it happen.