BELGRADE LAKES — A section of the old marina on Mill Stream came crashing down in less than a half-hour last week.

Ronald Bellavance, the contractor hired by the Maine Lakes Resource Center, razed part of the Main Street structure last Wednesday following a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Skip Johnson, grandson of Everett Johnson, who once owned Johnson Marina, took the first swipe of the building.

“Ron did an outstanding job with the razing of building and with the quick cleanup that followed,” said Gail Rizzo, spokesman for the resource center Monday. “With the building down, the view of the stream comes with openness, brightness and a refreshing view.”

Rizzo said the resource center’s staff will put together a landscaping plan in the spring. In the meantime, the exposed ground will be covered in mulch. Grassy space is planned for the area, which accesses the public boat docks.

The resource center is an initiative of Docks to Doorways, a coalition of Colby College and conservation-minded groups, including the Belgrade Lakes Association and the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance. It aims to increase public education about protecting lakes.

The Belgrade Lakes Association launched the project in 2009 with the Docks to Doorways fundraising campaign.

Under the campaign, the resource center bought the marina building and two vacant lots down the street for $400,000.

Last summer, a group circulated a petition to save portion of the 60-year-old marina, which housed a gift shop and, until July, the offices for the Lakes Association and the conservation alliance. The other half, which was not scheduled to be torn down, houses the post office. The alliance relocated to the new resource center up the street after it opened in July.

Kathi Wall, the center’s executive director, said she will host an informal community tea at 4 p.m. on Friday at the center at 137 Main St.

“I will answer any questions and talk with people about the current plans as we know them,” Wall said.

Wall invited Jack Schultz, who serves on the board of the Belgrade Lakes Association and Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, to cut the ribbon Wednesday.

“It’s fabulous. It’s wonderful,” Schultz said. “You can see the stream . . . they’re going to build a rain garden where they put the mulch.”

Some people contended that the garage-like cedar-shingled building had historic value, but Schultz disagreed and said it was in disrepair.

“What would you do with it?” he said. “It used to be a garage and then used for boats.”

The center’s original plans were to repair the marina’s boathouse, which has since been removed. Schultz said he didn’t think the center will follow through with rebuilding the boathouse.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said. “There’s better uses for the money.”

Diane Oliver, owner of Day’s Store across the street, said several customers commented on how bright the village looked with the building now gone.

“They said the sunshine came in and … you can see the stream and the lovely boathouse across the way,” Oliver said.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]


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