HARPSWELL — Sledgehammers will replace shovels as the implement of choice at a ‘pierbreaking’ to be held at the Mitchell Field Pier in Harpswell at 9 a.m. Dec. 7.

The 65-year-old pier, constructed by the Navy and used as a fuel terminal, has been steadily deteriorating since the town was given the structure roughly 17 years ago. The town originally hoped to use the structure for recreational purposes, but evaluations revealed the pier had deteriorated beyond the point of safe use.

The town debated for a while on whether or not the pier could be rehabilitated so it could be used for recreational purposes. After the complete collapse of the north cell of the pier in 2012, and then the pump house in 2015, the decision was all-but made for them.

“I think probably in the last three years the deteriorated condition of the pier as pieces of the pier collapsed into the ocean made it self evident,” said Harpswell Town Planner Mark Eyerman.

Since then, the pier has been barred to all public with chain-link fences, serving as an attractive nuisance. Fisherman would occasionally shimmy past the fence onto the pier, to be subsequently chased off by the Sheriff.

The town voted earlier this year to demolish the pier for up to $5 million to eliminate the problem once and for all.

“There has been, I think you could call it frustration after the town received ownership of the pier from the Navy,” said Eyerman.

Reed & Reed of Woolwich has been given the contract for the pier’s removal, at a price of $3.1 million. According to their proposal, the pier will be completely demolished by June of 2018, and removal of materials will be completed by the end of the summer.

“They have indicated that they are ready to go to work immediately,” said Eyerman.

The ‘pierbreaking’ will be a chance for town representatives to meet Reed & Reed, and to have a bit of a cathartic celebration for the project which, as Eyerman put it, “has been a long time coming.”

For more information, contact Mark Eyerman or Barney Baker of Baker Design Consultants