Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 1, 2013
Blue Hill resident circulates petition for removal of crane
The crane that sits in the inner harbor in downtown Blue Hill is the subject of a citizens’ petition, which seeks its removal.
by Faith DeAmbrose
Close to one year has gone by since a bright yellow crane was installed at the Blue Hill town dock in the inner harbor in downtown Blue Hill. And never once has neighbor Rick Seeger seen it move or be used. Seeger would know because he spends a lot of time looking at it, as it is literally and constantly in his “viewscape.”
Seeger acknowledges that while he may not be the most appropriate person to make a case for the removal of the crane—since it is in his backyard, so to speak—he said he has been urged by a number of folks to petition for its removal.
The petition started as conversation, said Seeger, noting that since he is closest to the crane, he is often asked be people “is it being used?” When people ask, said Seeger, the answer is always “no.” He is left wondering, as are others, he says, whether or not the inner harbor is the best place for it. While Seeger declined to name those who have asked him to circulate the petition, the effort is underway.
The petition reads: “We the undersigned residents of Blue Hill: Respectively request that the selectmen of Blue Hill authorize the removal, by whatever means available to them, as soon as possible, of the yellow crane located on the town dock before any liability or further expenses are incurred by the town regarding this device.”
Seeger said that the crane is likely better suited to the South Blue Hill Wharf “where there is all-tides access and where most of the fishermen are located.” He said he has even identified a person who would pay for the crane’s removal so as not to cost taxpayers any additional funds.
The petition only requests the removal and does not prompt any specific action, such as a call for a special town meeting to bring the issue to a vote. Seeger said that he is not in favor of a special town meeting because “they typically bring out voters for either side of an issue, people with specific interests, and end up creating a kind of class warfare,” pitting one group against the other.
The petition, which is circulating in a number of Blue Hill businesses, will be available for people to sign for the next few weeks, said Seeger, and will eventually be presented to the board of selectmen.
According to Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Bannister, the selectmen do not have an official stand on the crane one way or another and will wait to see if they are presented with a petition. “What a petition says is important, but how many people sign it is probably even more important,” said Bannister.