Selectmen approve reproduction sloop repair at town dock
Wiscasset selectmen on Tuesday approved a request by Phippsburg shipwright Rob Stevens, who is also working on the reproduction of the 1604 pinnace Virginia in Bath, to complete repairs on a revolutionary reproduction ship from late summer into next spring on the waterfront.
According to Stevens and the compendium, “The Nautical,” original sloop U.S.S. Providence was the first command of the young John Paul Jones in the Continental Navy, giving rise to his sobriquet “The Father of the American Navy.” The original was destroyed by its crew in 1779 to prevent it from falling into the hands of the British, on the Penobscot River. The reproduction vessel, built in 1976, was damaged in a storm in Providence, Rhode Island, according to Stevens, and Stevens accepted the mission of restoring it, in part at his shipyard at Small Point, and in Wiscasset.
The board eagerly agreed to the request. Ben Rines Jr., standing in for Judy Colby, who was absent, said he thought the project would be good for the town. Stevens said the timing was good for working with the schools and coming to the schools to discuss the history behind the Providence.
Earlier in the day, the board met to discuss the parking plans and take a brief walk around downtown to hear concerns from businesses about the parking issues that would likely arise from the Maine Department of Transportation project. However, Rines said any requests from the town would likely be premature, since for now, most of the work is being conducted on Railroad Avenue, and later would be at the northern end of Water Street. By then, he hoped, there would be some discussion about parking. Town Manager Marian Anderson said when the time comes, it would be possible to draw in the MDOT commissioner to discuss the parking issues.
William Maloney was named to the Budget Committee. A public hearing for Riverside Disposal drew no comments and the permit was granted. A new business license was granted to Sarah Castro doing business on Water Street as Little Maine Mercantile.
Constance Schumann spoke out against doing away with the Wiscasset Ambulance Service. Bob Blagden requested an executive session to discuss the CLC potential contract. Ray Soule has agreed to serve as harbormaster. Travis Levon has left the job.
Rines said he believed any decision about the ambulance service – whether it was to join another service such as CLC, hire a person in the department to handle administrative issues for a stipend, or allow members of the department to reorganize the department as an independent 501 (c) 3 – w0uld need a town vote. Anderson said no decisions would take place soon.