April 7, 2013

Boatbuilder, Freeport at odds over ship

Freeport officials set a deadline for Harold Arndt to float his schooner or move it from his property.

By Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

The Island Rover dominates the property of Harold Arndt on Bucknam Road in Freeport. The still-unfinished schooner has been assembled from scrap metal and recycled material.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Harold Arndt

Town Council Chairman James Hendricks said Arndt is applying for permits required to move the boat, itself an expensive and complex process.

"Hopefully he can get it resolved before the deadline," said Sarah Tracy, town councilor for the neighborhood. "I think we're all rooting for him. He's a good guy."

Gregg Carville, 39, who moved into the quiet waterfront community two years ago, said that as long as Arndt is not hurting anyone, he should be left to his own devices.

"Obviously Harold is unique," Carville said. "It's a labor of love."

Others have said the project, with its accompanying clutter, is an eyesore, and drags down property values in the increasingly tony enclave -- yet there are still pangs of doubt over whether Arndt and his project should be forced out.

Ed Roberts, who lives on Maquoit Drive and has a direct line of sight from his backyard into the project's epicenter, joked that his home would jump in value if Arndt's peculiar hobby -- and the mounds of junk that surround it -- suddenly disappeared.

But Roberts said he would be saddened to see the boat cut up for scrap, and believes the Town Council has given Arndt requirements that are impossible to achieve, while the boat itself may be an albatross.

"It's almost an impossible dream," Roberts said. "We all feel like we're breaking his heart."

When a reporter approached him at his home, Arndt, his blue eyes twinkling, was coy about the project's future. While he declined to discuss his legal plans, he did offer a written statement acknowledging the council's unanimous decision to enforce the agreement that could mean the boat's eviction, and said he welcomes the town's code enforcement officer when warmer weather arrives.

Asked whether construction would continue in the meantime, Arndt paused. "Spring is coming," he said.

Staff Writer Matt Byrne can be contacted at: 791-6303 or at



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