THE MITCHELL FIELD water tower as seen in February. A task force will meet at the Harpswell Town Office tonight at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the tower’s future.

THE MITCHELL FIELD water tower as seen in February. A task force will meet at the Harpswell Town Office tonight at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the tower’s future.

HARPSWELL

A task force will meet at the Harpswell Town Office tonight at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the future of the Mitchell Field water tower. The group consists of four Harpswell residents and is headed by Harpswell Board of Selectmen chairman Richard Daniel. The meeting is open to the public.

The tower is not in use and stands near the Mitchell Field Pier, which is set for demolition this fall. Once used as a fuel depot, Mitchell Field is now used as a recreational area, and the town views the site as a possible destination for businesses in the future. Harpswell acquired the property from the federal government in 2001.

Harpswell Town Planner Mark Eyerman said that the idea of the meeting is “to see if there is a potential use for the water tower.”

“We have two avenues,” Eyerman said. “To see whether the water tower has any value as part of a water supply system for future use at the field, and whether or not the tower has any value as a wireless communications antenna.”

Eyerman said that engineering firm Woodard & Curran has prepared a final report of the tower’s potential value as a water supply, and has also reviewed the condition of the tower’s foundation.

“The task force will look at the report and see if they are satisfied,” said Eyerman. “We’ll see if we need to make investments in the foundation if the tower is going to be retained.”

At a recent town meeting, an appropriation of not more than $10,000 from the Mitchell Field Capital Reserve was granted to the town to determine the feasibility of installing communications equipment on the tower. Eyerman said the money is to be used to engage a site manager who would locate interested cellphone carriers and other parties who might want to use the equipment.

“We have gotten two proposals from firms who would like to look at the feasibility of this project, and tonight we will see if the task force is ready to proceed with interviewing those firms,” said Eyerman.

Eyerman said that water tower developments have been slow so far in 2017 because the task force had been waiting for Woodard and Curran to complete their report and to see the results of the recent town meeting, but that now the task force is “presumably ready to move forward.”

“When the task force was created almost a year ago, half of those people were leaning toward tearing the tower down and half were leaning toward keeping it,” said Eyerman. “They have been working to find common ground as to how to proceed, so we’ll see what happens going forward.”

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