OAKLAND — Messalonskee Stream Hydro, a division of Essex Hydro Associates, based in Boston, finished building an accessible platform Thursday so that people who use wheelchairs can fish safely along the outlet of Messalonskee Stream.

The project, estimated to cost $25,000, came out of a long-term plan that required the company to evaluate the recreational needs for the area and adjust the access accordingly, said Elise Anderson, a regulatory analyst at Essex Hydro.

The hydro power company first got its federal license for its facilities in the 1980s. The license required it to “continue to evaluate the need for fishing access” for those with disabilities, according to Anderson.

Every five years, the company has drawn up a report about the recreational access at the Snow Pond Dam, which is at the north end of Messalonskee Lake.

“This past year it was called to our attention that there was a need and that this would be a good place for it,” Anderson said. They expect the fishing platform to be used frequently.

The platform juts out over the stream next to the dam and has one low piece of railing so those who use wheelchairs can get a fishing rod over it and into the stream.

Mike Joslyn, an operator for Messalonskee Stream Hydro who helped build the platform, said the project has been in the works for about a year and a half.

According to Joslyn, there will be a designated parking spot in the lot next to the stream for those who qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act. They plan to pour recycled asphalt pavement over the lot so that wheelchair users can get from the parking spot to the platform easily.

After the asphalt is poured, the company has to place signs at the new fishing spot, he said.

The area is a good spot for fishing, Joslyn added, as he caught a Northern pike after work on Wednesday.

Messalonskee Stream Hydro owns four hydro stations in the area, Anderson said: Snow Pond Dam at the outlet of Messalonskee Stream, the Oakland Hydro Station across from the Town Office, the Union Gas Station farther downstream, and the Rice Rips Station in Waterville.

While the company hasn’t built a fishing platform elsewhere, it does maintain a floating pier in Waterville, a canoe portage in Benton and trail counters along the Messalonskee Trail in Oakland, she said.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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