NAPLES — Four local groups are collaborating to put a handicapped-accessible ice shed on Long Lake so that local veterans can “do some ice fishing on the lake and enjoy the winter instead of being house-bound, which a lot of them are.”

The American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 in Windham, Naples Memorial Post 155, Sebago Lake Anglers Association and Veterans on the Water came together to collaborate on the project after Tim Hoffman of Veterans on the Water, which takes veterans fishing, mentioned he had an ice shed that could be adapted to be handicapped accessible, according to Field-Allen Post Adjutant Dave Tanguay.

Tanguay inspected the shed, which needed work to update it and make it handicapped-accessible. “Roof work needed to be done. Some of the insulation was falling in. We needed an accessible shed with a wider door,” he said. 

Modifications include installing seating benches, adding a flag pole and establishing storage for firewood. 

Tanguay also began collaborating with the Sebago Lake Anglers Association and the Naples Memorial Post. Each of the four groups has contributed manpower and support to the project. 

“We have quite a volunteer group to work on it,” said Dan Smart of the Anglers Association.

The Anglers Association agreed to sponsor the shed. Dave Garcia of the Anglers Association discussed the shed with the Naples Selectboard, which encouraged the idea.

“We want to see this happen so veterans can go out and do some ice fishing on the lake and enjoy the winter instead of being house-bound, which a lot of them are,” Garcia said. The shed will be available to all veterans, but the four groups are taking additional measures to ensure that it is handicapped accessible. 

The shed will be located near Kent’s Landing in Naples because the road is plowed throughout the winter.

Tanguay put together a list of materials and began petitioning local businesses for donations of materials. 

American Steel donated a plate of aluminum to create a ramp for wheelchairs. Lowe’s provided a door and other hardware and lumber. Maine Flag & Banner is donating flags and provided a discount on a flag pole. Moonshine Signs of Windham is creating signs for the shed. 

“It really is exciting. It’ll really help the veterans. They have very little chance for them to get outside,” Smart said.

The shed will be warmed with a wood stove. It will have benches inside as well as two ice holes for fishing and will be large enough to fit a wheelchair or two. 

“I see it as just a great project for all the organizations that support veterans. I’ve been happy to take the lead on this to get it going,” Tanguay said.

The shed is still being modified, but the project is coming together. Tanguay anticipates it will be put on the ice in mid-January.

He said they are still finalizing who will be responsible for creating a calendar and determining who will be responsible for the shed on which day. However, he does not anticipate this being a problem, given all the interest in the project. 

“It sounds like it’s going to be a great success.  I think it’s going to be a really great addition to the town,” Garcia said. 

Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at [email protected] 

The shed at Kent’s Landing in Naples, where it will soon be put on the ice for veterans’ use.

The shed before modifications were made.