Press Release: Demolition Begins on the Building Next Door
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Library Moves Ahead with Demolition of Building Next Door
Jesup Memorial Library sets the stage for protection of its historic building plus future expansion, calling for community support
BAR HARBOR, July 10, 2019 – On July 10, the Jesup Memorial Library began demolition of an adjacent building at 28 Mt Desert Street. The Jesup purchased the property in 2012 to allow for future expansion of library facilities. The demolition kicks off Phase Two of the library’s Jesup 2020 capital campaign, focusing on critical repairs to preserve and protect the library’s historic building, plus site work to prepare for a planned Phase Three addition.
Phase One involved paying off the mortgage on 28 Mt Desert Street and developing conceptual architectural plans, and was completed in 2018. Phase Four will involve interior restoration of the historic building.
Jesup Board Chair Ron Beard said, “By taking down the house on the corner, we are opening the door to a wonderful future for Bar Harbor. Everything that is good about our town will be reflected in this wonderfully restored and expanded building that offers something to inspire and energize everyone.”
According to Board Treasurer Tom Crikelair, the library is seeking $450,000 in additional gifts this summer to complete a Phase Two goal of raising $1 million to preserve the historic library structure.
“We are grateful to those who donated toward Phase One, especially for major gifts from the Walsh and Cough families,” Crikelair said. “I want to echo what Mark Walsh said when he made his half-million dollar gift to the campaign: we hope everyone who loves Bar Harbor — year-round residents, summer residents, and visitors who return every year — will join us in supporting this exciting project.”
Once the lot at 28 Mt Desert Street is empty, the Jesup can proceed with the excavation needed to extend its drainage line to School Street to connect with the town’s storm drain system. In recent years, heavy rainfall has overwhelmed the 108-year-old building’s aging drainage system, leading to several incidents of water infiltration in the library’s basement. “Last winter we were forced to temporarily close portions of the library due to basement flooding. We are determined to make sure that this does not happen again,” said Library Director Ruth Eveland.
Board member and Building Committee Chairman Spenser Simis said that preliminary site work for the addition will be completed along with the renovation and drainage work to avoid digging up the property twice. Other Phase Two work planned for this summer includes masonry repointing and façade work, plus the installation of protective membranes around the library’s granite foundation.
Board Chair Ron Beard said, “George Dorr and Maria DeWitt Jesup took care to build this library extremely well, and it will easily serve the town for another century and beyond. But there are urgent issues to address. Our generation must step up now to prevent major problems down the road. Tomorrow is no longer an option.”
Space, accessibility and technology will be the next issues the Jesup tackles in Phase Three with its expansion. According to statements from the library, the 1911 building is at capacity in terms of space and facilities, as events, programming, collections and overall use by seasonal and year-round residents have grown in recent decades. The future addition will include a new children’s space, a dedicated area for teens, community meeting and event spaces, access to historic archives, and ADA-compliant restroom facilities, among other features.
The Jesup 2020 campaign has raised $2.8 million to preserve and restore the library, and aims to raise a total of $7.3 million to enable the expansion to move forward. The Jesup’s Treasurer pointed out that the library is also in the middle of its regular Annual Fund Campaign. “The generosity of the community is our nourishment,” Crikelair said. “We need food to live, and we need food to grow.”
Portland-based architect Scott Simons is designing the new wing and will manage restoration of the original building’s interior. Preliminary floor plans and other information about the Jesup 2020 campaign can be found at www.jesup2020.org.