The cupola that formerly crowned the Bay of Naples Inn has since fallen into disrepair. File photo

NAPLES — The owner of the property where the historic Naples cupola has been located for more than half a century has offered to have the town deed the structure over to him, rather than pay monthly storage fees or move it elsewhere.

The cupola is removed from the Bay of Naples Inn before the building is destroyed. Photo courtesy of Merry Watson

Mark Copeland told the town in the fall that it had one year to relocate the cupola, which has been on the former campground site on Campfire Drive since 1964, or it would have to pay him monthly storage fees. The 22-foot cupola once crowned the Bay of Naples Inn, which was built in the 1890s, but has since fallen into disrepair. Over the years, there have been many plans to renovate or relocate the dilapidated cupola, but none have come to fruition.

Recently, however, Copeland told Town Manager John Hawley that the town could deed the cupola over to him instead, rather than move it or pay fees for it. Copeland then would take over ownership and responsibility for the structure.

In an interview, Copeland said he wants to see the cupola preserved and knows that “there are people in town that want to see it preserved.”

He said he would “rather see it be used by the town,” and if the cupola is deeded over to him he would try to get support from a local business to move it elsewhere.

The Selectboard was divided Jan. 27 over whether to deed the cupola to Copeland.

I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t at least try to appropriate something (from the budget for the cupola),” Selectman Kevin Rogers said. “Let’s keep the ball rolling slowly. It’s a tourist attraction. It’s just silly for us to pass it up.”

Selectman James Turpin disagreed.

When the Bay of Naples Inn was torn down in 1964, the cupola, shown in this photo, was saved. Photo courtesy of Merry Watson

There’s not enough public sentiment to have tax dollars pay for it,” Turpin said.  

Resident Bob Nyberg agreed with Turpin.

When people want to do things in a town, they get people together, they fund the project and they make sure it goes forward. This project hasn’t moved in three years. They don’t have the will to do it or it would already be done.”

In 2018, Naples residents voted down a warrant article that would have appropriated $41,500 for moving and repairing the cupola.

Hawley said in an interview that he will suggest that the town appropriate some funds for the cupola in his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. That budget will require approval from both the Budget Committee and Selectboard before being voted on by residents at the annual town meeting in April.

If there’s going to be any financial contribution from the town, of course it will be taken up in the budget process,” he said.

“Hopefully this will spur people to make something happen,” Copeland said.

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