Lincoln County Commissioners

Colonial Pemaquid subject of Legislative hearing Jan. 9

Posted:  Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - 8:15am

The Maine Legislature will take up the issue of leasing the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site to the Friends of Colonial Pemaquid at a public hearing at 2 p.m. Jan. 9 at the Cross Office Building in Augusta.

State Sen. Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro, and State Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle, are sponsoring the legislation, LD 1739, to lease the point, along with the restaurant The Contented Sole, and the docks, to the Friends group. The group asked Gov. Paul LePage for the lease last spring. He expressed interest, but then did not favor it because the lease deal included the restaurant. The state currently takes in rent for the restaurant. The group contended that the funds from the rent were needed to support the educational mission of Colonial Pemaquid, and without the rent monies, the group would not have the funding to complete the reproduction village under construction since 2008, and would not have funding for other programming at the site.

The group hopes Colonial Pemaquid could become a three-season tourist attraction, like Plimouth Plantation near Plymouth, Massachusetts, or Old Sturbridge Village, near Sturbridge, Massachusetts. In addition to completing the construction of the village, the group hopes to staff the site from spring through fall and have evening programming as well as daytime hours. The group has pointed out that other nonprofits have taken charge of historic sites in Maine, including Fort Knox in Prospect, and have made them major attractions for both visitors and local residents.

Don Loprieno asked the Lincoln County Commissioners Jan. 2 to ask for their continuing support for the project. He asked for a letter of support in time for the public hearing. The commissioners unanimously agreed.

Hamilton Meserve was elected commission chair for the next two years. The commission read a letter of congratulations to Ken Desmond, who is accepting a state firefighting commission post. Sheriff Todd Brackett received permission to order five radios using Homeland Security funding.