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Fright at the Fort Wins Tourism Award

Posted March 20, 2014, at 10:41 a.m. by Leon Seymour

Fright at the Fort, the annual Friends’ of Fort Knox, annual Halloween fundraiser, was presented an award Tuesday evening, March 18th, at the Maine Governor’s Conference on Tourism, at the Cross Center, in Bangor. The award recognized, Fright at the Fort, for its unique Creativity and was presented by Commissioner George Gervais, from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. Accepting the award were Leon Seymour, executive director of the Friends and a costumed character from last fall’s Fright at the Fort, the “Plague Doctor."

Fright at the Fort began in 1999, as a single afternoon event, which was held on the parade grounds of the Fort Knox State Historic site. The event was geared towards school-aged children and featured a costume parade and a few scary props. The event continued this way for several years and raised scant funds.

The Friends’ of Fort Knox executive director encouraged the Board of Directors to move the event into the evening and to gear it towards a scarier experience for older visitors. Since the move to an evening more frightening event, Fright has attracted tens of thousands of visitors and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Last fall, 9,200 visitors attended fright, during a total of 14 hours, which spanned four evenings. Visitors came from all over the State of Maine as well as from Canada and neighboring states. The event grossed nearly $84,000 for the Friends of Fort Knox. Fright proceeds go to Fort preservation and enhancements.

Fright utilizes approximately 100 volunteers and staff each night. Volunteers include the Penobscot Job Corps, Searsport High Drama Club, University of Maine Fraternities and community volunteers.

Several years ago, the Friends of Fort Knox reached out to the Gr. Bucksport Chamber of Commerce to encourage them to create an event that would compliment Fright and draw more people to the area for a longer period of time. It was hoped that the Chamber could build on the thousands already coming for Fright and by creating an adjunct event, have a greater positive impact on local retail, food and lodging businesses.

 

Opponents Decry Fort Knox Fence Idea
By  Bill Pearson - Ellsworth American - August 8, 2013

PROSPECT - The Friends of Fort Knox and other community members joined forces on July 31 to emphatically voice their opposition to a proposed metal fence that would be placed around the 169-year-old--former defense facility. Twenty people attended the public hearing to tell state and federal agencies a proposed 1,800-foot metal fence around the fort's perimeter would adversely affect the facility's historical integrity
     The Army Corps of Engineers, the state Bureau of Parks and Lands and the State Historic Preservation Commission all agree the fence would undermine the fort's historic appearance, but state and federal agencies plan to construct the fence to prevent injuries caused by visitors falling.
     Since 1982, at least 35 people received substantial injuries from falls. The most severe accident occurred in 1982.  A man went into a permanent vegetative coma after a 25-foot fall onto the granite pavement.  A more recent accident happened when a 7-year-old boy fell and broke his arm in 2012.
     The proposed safety fence and 300 linear feet of shrubs will be paid by federal funds. The Army Corps of Engineers has access to money available to secure formerly used defense sites. The New England Chapter of the Army Corps of Engineers consulted with the State Historic Preservation Commission and State Bureau of Parks and Lands to decide where the former defense site money could be best used in Maine. This resulted in Fort Knox being selected to receive approximately $500,000 to place a safety fence to prevent falls. The fence also would bring the state park in compliance with Occupational Safety Hazards Administration regulations.
     "Neither of us like the project in terms of the adverse historical impact it will have on the fort:” said Tom Desjardins, a historian with the State Bureau of Parks and lands. “It will change the visual aspect, hut nobody wants to answer the phone on a Monday morning to hear a 7-year-old girl has fallen to her death"
     Local opposition responded that no amount of safety precautions would prevent all potential accidents at the state park. The Friends organization and its local allies believe the potential hazards would be best addressed with better signage pointing out potentially dangerous spots.
     State officials stated the proposed safety measures were no more obtrusive than the ones in place at Fort Popham in Phipsburg a couple years ago. "I've been to Fort Popham and the fencing there makes it look like Alcatraz" said Friends of Fort Knox Board member Amy McRae.
     The state and federal officials decided to proceed with the project after a January 2012 meeting with the Friends of Fort Knox. Governmental officials didn't hear any opposition to the plan, so they moved the project forward. The Army Corps of Engineers plans to hire a contractor by the end of September. The proposed fencing should be completed in late fall or early winter according to Project Manager Stephen Lavallee
     The Friends group thought a public hearing would be held prior to the government entities proceeding with the project. The Friends group believed the proposal would take several years before it materialized. So members waited until a public hearing was held prior to making a declaration about the proposal. "We thought we'd be part of the process:” said Friends of Fort Knox Chairman Carol Weston. "We didn’t want to look like troublemakers and oppose the safety precautions. So that's why we waited for a public hearing:” The Friends group held its monthly' meeting Tuesday to consider whether to support the memorandum of agreement.
     The Army Corps of Engineers, state Bureau of Parks and Land, and Maine Historical Preservation Commission have all signed the memorandum. If the Friends group doesn't support the memorandum, it won’t necessarily stop the proposal.  Desjardins indicated that the state wants to proceed with the project.  So it would be up to the Army Corps of Engineers to decide whether to proceed if the Friends group opposes the project

news.fenceviewer.com

 

It’s never going to end’: Maintaining historical, structural integrity at Fort Knox

By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff
Posted March 03, 2013, at 10:07 a.m.

windowrest

PROSPECT, Maine — Faced with a never-ending workload, it might be easy to be a defeatist.

When you’re tasked with maintaining Fort Knox, construction of which began in 1844, the job truly is never done. Leon Seymour — director of Friends of Fort Knox, which operates and manages the National Historic Landmark — said the fort basically began falling apart more more than 140 years ago.

“It’s never going to end here,” he said Tuesday. “The construction stopped in 1869, and once you stop construction, deterioration begins.”

But when it comes to maintaining the historic and structural integrity of the fort, Seymour and company are anything but defeatist. This spring, the fort is focusing on replacing windows and rehabilitating some masonry. The window work already has begun, and the masonry work is scheduled to begin this spring, Seymour said. All told, both jobs will cost about $75,000, he said.

Whenever possible, construction, materials and renovation techniques as similar to those used in the mid-19th century are used, Seymour said. Historical accuracy is a paramount concern at the fort, which is not only a state park, but a National Historical Landmark, the highest federal status for a historic building.

At the fort on Tuesday, Michael El-Hajj, general manager for R.L. White & Son, which is undertaking the window repair, consulted a sketch of period-appropriate details for the wooden parts of the windows. The Maine Historic Preservation Commission researched other period windows in the area to come up with a design.

“A lot of the historic features of a window are the profiles of the muntins and sash,” El-Hajj said. Two workers from his company were removing and cataloging each window sash and pane of glass. When possible, the older “bubble glass” in the fort will be retained, El-Hajj said, rather than replaced.

The Friends of Fort Knox took over the day-to-day management of the park last year, but have been involved in maintenance and upkeep since long before that, Seymour said.

“The first project we had was tackling the roof,” Seymour said, describing a nearly $900,000 roof restoration project.

“In the ’90s, the roof had been compromised because in the ’60s, the state had put asphalt on the roof and removed the original sod. Because of Maine winter’s freeze-thaw cycle, that asphalt was letting a lot of moisture permeate the masonry, so it was actually becoming unstable. So in the late ’90s, the asphalt was replaced and sod was put back on the roof.”

Seymour said Maine’s weather is the primary enemy of the fort. As water seeps into the joints between the bricks and large granite blocks that make up the bulk of the fort’s structure, salt and other minerals leach out. The mortar can become brittle and crack or, worse, fall out entirely.

The specifications of masonry repointing are an example of the delicate balance of historical accuracy and modern best-practices. Through the state Bureau of Parks and Lands and the historic commission, a sample of mortar in the fort was analyzed last summer, Seymour said.

That analysis resulted in a list of ingredients and percentages that a mason will use to replicate the mortar mix used in the fort’s construction. But it’s not historical fidelity for its own sake, according to Earl Shettleworth, director of the preservation commission.

Shettleworth said that mortars used today dry faster and to a harder consistency than those used in the mid-19th century. Introducing modern mortar into the fort could cause structural damage, he said.

“That’s the real issue here,” he said Tuesday. “It’s not that we’re trying to carefully replicate for the sake of replication, but rather because the material was part of an overall building system or scheme that was correct for the construction of that time.”

Contractors could work year-round on masonry at the fort alone, Seymour said. It’s the biggest job at the site, and he said “you don’t have to look very far” from any point in the fort to find dry, cracked, nonexistent or weed-ridden mortar.

A few years ago, Seymour said, an emergency repair job was called for when bricks were literally falling out of the vaulted ceilings. Most of the brickwork in the fort has been stabilized since then, he said, and now the Friends are focusing on the massive granite blocks that make up the fort’s exterior walls.

But weather isn’t the only enemy of the fort’s construction. Seymour said that of the fort’s roughly 85,000 visitors per year, some are seekers of illicit souvenirs.

“People will actually come and pick bricks out of the walls,” he said. “It’s beyond my comprehension.”

Despite the seemingly never-ending mountain of work always awaiting around the next corner, Seymour was upbeat about the Friends’ efforts. He noted that restoration and renovation work last year ended with the opening of one of the fort’s powder magazines to the public. That site had never been open before, he said.

“We understand how important Fort Knox is to the people of Maine,” he said. “There’s memories that span generations here. We take the responsibility very seriously.”

Roger Bennatti surveys Fort Knox

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

 

Civil War Reenactment Teaches Mainer's History Lessons

by WABI-TV5 News Desk

CW 2012

- July 29th 2012 01:16am -
Prospect - If you visit Fort Knox this weekend, you'll step back in time to the 1800's. The Friends of Fort Knox are holding their civil war reenactment this weekend. Activities included cannon demonstration and lessons on what is was like to live in a civil war camp. Event organizers stressed how important it is for everyone to remember our countries history. The weekend is dedicated to the memories of two reenactors who passed away this year; Gordon McRae and Frank Cassidy.

Click Here for WABI video of Civil War Reenactment

Friends’ and Parks Bureau

Dedicate Reopening of Fort Powder Magazine

mag dedic

A space dedicated to providing the explosive power for massive cannons which once ringed the Fort Knox State Historic site, was reopened to the public, Saturday, May 12th. In a dedication ceremony marking the reopening of a key powder magazine for public viewing, Friends’ of Fort Knox Board Chair, Carol Weston and Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands Director, Will Harris, cut a red ribbon marking the occasion. The Friends funded the restoration project that cost in excess of $28,000 and was completed earlier this year. A State parks official noted that the powder magazine had been closed to the public for fifty years due to safety concerns.

The restoration project involved the removal of decayed wood throughout the magazine and reconstruction. An original wood wall, from original construction in the mid-1860s, was able to be retained during the restoration project. Electricity was brought into the powder magazine to illuminate it for public viewing.

new mag

Interpretive materials line the restored powder magazine and include replica gunpowder barrels, ammunition boxes, cannon balls, before and after project photos and interpretive plaques. Maine Historic Site Specialist, Tom Desjardin, was responsible for the development of the interpretive plaques for the powder magazine.

The powder magazine would have stored gunpowder for the massive Rodman cannons, 24-pound flank howitzer cannons and rifles. Soldiers would have had to be very careful when entering the magazine to ensure an errant spark form a belt buckle or shoes did not ignite the powder. Ordinance manuals from the period had exacting standards that were to be employed to prevent gunpowder explosions.

The Fort Knox State Historic site and Penobscot Narrows Observatory are open each day, starting at 9 AM, up to and including Halloween. The Friends of Fort Knox sponsor numerous special events throughout the season and a list of the happenings may be found on their web site fortknox.maineguide.com

Fort Knox becomes first privatized state park

By Tanya Mitchell | Apr 17, 2012

Photo leon garden by: Tanya Mitchell Fort Knox Executive Director Leon Seymour tends to the educational garden beds outside the visitors center Monday, April 16. As part of the new lease agreement between the Friends of Fort Knox and the Maine Department of Conservation's Bureau of Parks and Lands, FOFK will be in charge of taking care of the grounds at the historic site.

Prospect — Fort Knox Executive Director Leon Seymour likens a lease agreement between the nonprofit group Friends of Fort Knox and the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands to those that commonly exist between a tenant and a landlord.

"Our view is that the state Department of Conservation Bureau of Parks and Lands still has the ultimate responsibility to take care of this property," said Seymour Monday, April 16.

For the last several years, Seymour said, FOFK has honored a contract with the bureau that calls for the local organization to take on tasks the state typically handles at other state parks. Those tasks have included fee collection, providing interpretive tours, staffing the gift shop, completing the bookkeeping, tracking park attendance, conducting special events, handling all marketing and undertaking restoration projects.

"Now what we'll be doing is tending the grounds and insuring that all state park rules are adhered to," said Seymour. Seymour said as is the case with a tenant-landlord arrangement, the state still retains ownership of the property and would be responsible for any major needs at the historic site. "We will continue to work in partnership with them on various projects and we will actively seek their participation," Seymour said.

The back-story

While FOFK has taken on more of the day-to-day operations at the fort in recent years, Seymour said the lease agreement was not something that FOFK actively pursued. "It began with a conversation with Representative Michael Celli," said Seymour. Celli, R—Brewer, who formerly served as the chairman of the FOFK Board of Directors, had previously submitted a bill aimed at transferring management of the park over to FOFK, but the Legislature rejected that bill in 2009."In the late fall of 2010 there was some discussion with the top representatives in the incoming administration about [Celli's] desire to do this again," said Seymour.

Seymour and members of the FOFK Board continued discussions with bureau officials about the possibilities for additional management responsibilities, and those talks continued through all of 2011.The FOFK board formally voted to accept the lease agreement April 3, and officials with DOC and the bureau have since signed the document as well. The term of the lease, according to the agreement, is from Sunday, April 15, 2012, and will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2015.

Bureau Director Will Harris said the agreement does no more than add a couple more layers to the responsibilities FOFK has already taken over in recent years. "The Friends have already taken over a lot of the work there; the collection of admission fees, giving tours of the fort, running the gift shop, as well as raising money for the fort," said Harris. The yearlong discussions between FOFK and the bureau, said Harris, helped the parties arrive at the terms of the lease agreement that took effect Sunday. "I think this is the best we can do for both sides," said Harris.

The first of its kind

While the agreement has made Fort Knox State Park and Historic Site the first privatized state park in Maine, Seymour said it's not the first time the state has turned property over to other groups and entities.

"The Friends of Montpellier were given the Knox Mansion," said Seymour of the organization charged with operating the General Henry Knox Museum in Thomaston. Another example, said Seymour, is the management of Lake George Regional Park in Skowhegan by the Lake George Corporation. In that case, Land For Maine's Future and DOC provided the funding to purchase the land for the day-use park, according to the LGRP website, and the state-owned land is leased through an inter-local agreement that includes the towns of Skowhegan and Canaan. In Richmond, Seymour said, the state turned over the duties of overseeing the public's recreational use of Peacock Beach State Park to the host town. According to the bureau's website, the town of Richmond took on that responsibility in May 2010.

Harris said in the case of Peacock Beach, the state employed two people to help operate a park that was largely used by residents of the town. Under the arrangement with the town, Harris said the local recreation department took over the day-to-day duties. The deal the bureau forged with FOFK, said Harris, differs due to its size and scope. "This is a bigger operation that is much more publicly used," noted Harris.

Another difference with the arrangement between the bureau and FOFK, said Seymour, is that FOFK is a nonprofit organization. That said, Seymour and Harris both stated there are no intentions on the part of FOFK to change any of the existing rules or fee structures. And since FOFK has done so much to make structural improvements to the fort and enhance the educational value for its visitors over the last two decades, Harris said the bureau was willing to make an exception when entering into the agreement. "That's why we thought this might be something worth taking a chance on," said Harris. "Normally we would not be leasing out state parks. This is a unique situation involving a private group."

A working arrangement

An upside to the lease agreement, Harris said, is no state staff will lose their jobs as a result of its existence. Tom Moore, who Harris said served as the chief operations manager at the fort on the state payroll last year, will return to serve as the park's operation manager for FOFK this season, and Seymour said another staffer will be hired to help Moore.

Since the agreement was being discussed through the 2011 season, Harris said all staff hired last season was placed on the payroll in an acting capacity. One of the state employees who worked at Fort Knox last season has since been promoted to serve as manager of another state park, and another was reassigned to fill a position at a different state park.

Overall, Seymour said the site will employ between 16 and 18 part-time staff in addition to himself and a part-time seasonal administrative assistant. And aside from keeping local people working, there is an additional positive that Seymour said would make life easier for the park staff, and by extension, visitors.

"The beauty of this is, even though we worked very well with the local staff here, is now we'll be able to integrate all staff functions," said Seymour. "There's going to be a lot of cross-training." That means if an employee who normally mans the gift shop is out sick for a day or two, all other park staffers will have the training they need to step into that role. The same goes for the staff at the entrance gate, the visitor's center and the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory, an attraction that is under the ownership of the Maine Department of Transportation but uses park staff for its every day operations.

To that end, Seymour said the bureau has done all it can to make the training go as smoothly as possible. "The bureau has been extremely helpful putting together information about the day-to-day operations at the fort," Seymour said.

Under the terms of the lease, FOFK will now be able to keep 85 percent of all gross admissions revenue aside from season passes. Each season pass admission that exceeds 10 percent of the total annual admissions will return $3 to the state. That differs from what has been the case in past years, Harris said. FOFK formerly split admissions income with the bureau, 50-50, with FOFK keeping its share for continued improvements to the fort and the bureau's share going into the state's general fund.

"That percentage increase will help the Friends cover paying for staff for the maintenance operations," said Harris. Under the new arrangement, Harris said the state could save up to $40,000 this season, a figure that depends on 2012 park attendance. But with the mild weather already showing up in the Pine Tree State, Harris hopes visitor numbers — which last season totaled about 69,000 — will be on the rise." We're hoping for at least that many this year," said Harris.

The fort, in the future

Special events like Fright at the Fort, the annual Medieval Tournaments, the Paranormal and Psychic Faire and Pirate Days will continue at the historic site, but Seymour said locals should expect to see some diversity in the programs each year. "We're doing a tribute to Elton John concert here in July," said Seymour. "Some people say some events that have been held here seem inappropriate, but we'll have to do what's popular... These kinds of special events attract a diverse group of people, and you just can't do the same thing weekend after weekend."

Harris said the bureau also sees the value of keeping the fort experience fresh, whether someone has visited once or 100 times. "We've encouraged the Friends to talk a lot about continuing to do things like re-enactments and other activities to help keep the interest up, and keep the attendance up," Harris said.

In some cases, Seymour said paranormal programs held at the fort have helped to start some pop-culture trends like the widespread fascination with ghosts and extraterrestrial life, evidenced by shows that now routinely air on the SyFy and History channels. "When we were first doing it, it wasn't being shown on the History Channel," said Seymour.

These days, the fort is the regular stomping ground of East Coast Ghost Trackers, a local group that donates its time and offers guided ghost tours for $10 per participant, all in the name of supporting the fort. This year, Seymour said diehard ghost hunters will have the chance to join the cast of the SyFy Channel's Ghost Hunters, thanks to the help of a special event company out of Massachusetts.

Weddings, company parties, family reunions and other gatherings are also welcome at the fort. "We've already got four weddings booked for this year," said Seymour. FOFK also plans to continue planting educational gardens all around the grounds, which Seymour said have produced potatoes, tomatoes and gourds, just to name a few items.

And with the new lease agreement in place, Seymour said he hopes it will allow FOFK more flexibility in terms of responding to requests from various local groups to use the site for a wide range of purposes. Seymour also hopes to have the fort open for next year's spring school vacation, something he said he'd like to do annually. "We'll still be operating within the rules, but we hope to be able to respond a little more quickly to opportunities that present themselves," he said.

Now, Seymour said FOFK will consider enhancements such as additional picnic tables, benches and barbecue grills, and the group is now in negotiations with MDOT to increase the amount of time the state illuminates the neighboring Penobscot Narrows Bridge. "Now, the bridge is illuminated from July until Labor Day," said Seymour. "It's an $85 million bridge, why do we want it in the dark? "FOFK wants the lights to come on for the first day of summer in June and remain illuminated through Halloween to coincide with the park's season. Tuesday morning, MDOT spokesman Ted Talbot said the department would keep the bridge lights on for the additional time because FOFK agreed to pay the state the extra $500 cost of doing so.

At the end of the day, though, Seymour said the aim of FOFK is, and has always been, the continued restoration and preservation of the site. "The board is fully aware of how important Fort Knox is to the local community and the state. People here have been coming to the fort for generations," he said. "We take our new responsibility very, very seriously and we will continue to care for the fort as we always have."

Building a local attraction, and a partnership

FOFK was officially formed in 1991 with the goal of addressing needs at the aging fort, which at that time had reached critical condition.

During his interview with The Journal Monday, Seymour looked back at all the local organization has done since then to reopen portions of the structure that had been closed to the public for years.

In 1995, the group worked with the bureau to come up with a three-phase action plan to complete roof repairs within a two-year timeframe, and by 1996, FOFK had played a major role in the passage of a $1 million bond to help cover the costs of the repairs. FOFK raised $314,759 in private donations to support the project, according to the timeline posted on the Fort Knox website.

In 1997, FOFK opened the site's first gift shop, and in 1998, the organization worked with the bureau to develop plans for what is now the visitor center, a structure that once served as the fort's torpedo shed. That project alone, Seymour said, cost nearly $1 million to complete.

In 1999, FOFK hired Seymour as the first full time executive director, the same year the work began on the visitor center. In 2000, a website dedicated to the happenings at the historic site, as well as its lengthy history, went live.

Turning into the new century, FOFK did anything but lose momentum. In June 2000, the group sponsored a season-long series of special events, the pre-cursor for the modern favorites such as Fright at the Fort, which Seymour said drew about 9,000 people last October.

By March 2001, FOFK and the bureau signed on to a formal partnership agreement.

In 2001, the new gift shop was opened, as was the visitor center, which was immediately filled with interpretive panels containing dates and facts about the fort's history as well as artifacts that were found on the grounds over the years. In 2002, the visitor center grew to include a multimedia system to be used for educational programs.

April 2003 brought the first management contract between FOFK and the bureau, which Seymour said included the collection of gate fees on behalf of the state.

In the summer of 2003, FOFK added interpretive panels throughout the fort grounds as a way to offer self-guided tours, and in September of that same year, volunteers completed the re-pointing work at the Battery B hotshot furnace. In 2004, the long-closed officer's quarters were reopened to the public with the help of FOFK.

As the years went on, Seymour said, FOFK pressed on with its mission, completing the restoration of the Battery A powder magazine roof in 2005, illuminating the exterior of the fort in 2006 and restored four 24-pound flank howitzer cannons and carriages that are original to the fort. A masonry program was established to continue repairing the brickwork at the site, which resulted in the reopening of the enlisted men's quarters in 2008. That part of the fort had been closed for the previous 20 years due to safety concerns. FOFK went on to rebuild a nearly collapsed wall at Battery B and last summer, the organization launched plans for the restoration of the northern interior fort powder magazine, which is set to reopen next month.

"That really represents the last closed piece of the fort," Seymour said.

Reporter Tanya Mitchell can be reached at 338-3333 or at tmitchell@villagesoup.com.

MDOT Outlines Plans to Demolish Waldo-Hancock Bridge

by Joy Hollowell WABI-TV 5- February 28th 2012

Prospect, Verona Island

For 81 years, it has linked Prospect and Verona Island.
But this September, the Waldo-Hancock bridge will start being torn down
It's a process that's expected to take about nine months.

"Basically the bridge will come down the same way it went up, but in the opposite type of orientation " says Douglas Coombs, Assistant Project Manager for the Maine Department of Transportation. "The deck will be dropped down to waiting barges below. They'll be cut apart and then dropped either from support cables using the bridge itself, or from cranes mounted on barges in the water."

After the deck is dismantled, the main support cables will come down. Then, it's on to the two towers.

"We will be supporting the main tower structures. We're working with a consultant that has done several of these types of projects throughout the U.S. and basically all over the world," says Coombs.

Safety will be a top priority, according to Coombs, not only for workers, but also travelers on the bridge and below.

"We are working with the Coast Guard on developing plans for all of the navigation traffic that's going to be in the Penobscot during that time," he explains.

Some of the old landmark will remain, including the two cement water piers as well as the abutments. Plans are in place to put back the old bridge plaques as well as panels depicting what once was.

The Waldo-Hancock bridge hasn't been used since the Penobscot Narrows bridge opened at the end of 2006.

As for why it took so long to get to this point, Coombs says it came down to finding $7,500,000 in the budget.

"We were waiting for different fundings to come in for the project, and now the project is funded."
Coombs says the state will start advertising for bids in mid-June. They expect work to start around September 1st and be completed by the middle of June 2013.

Two 45-foot flag poles on top of each tower will be donated to the towns of Verona Island and Prospect and a portion of the bridge itself will be given to Bucksport to be used on the walking trail.

Coombs says there are no major traffic problems anticipated during the bridge demolition.

As for where all that scrap metal will end up, Coombs says it has not yet been determined.

The total length of the Waldo-Hancock County bridge is 2,040 feet. The main portion of the bridge between the two towers spans 800 feet. It opened to the public in November of 1931, and closed in December of 2006.