City Councilors approved a request from Front Street Shipyard to utilize the Front Street parking lot for temporary storage of two large masts for boats that will arrive in the fall.

The two boats are scheduled to arrive at the beginning of September and would leave by mid-November. One of the masts is 187 feet and the other mast is approximately 160 feet, J.B. Turner, of Front Street Shipyard, told councilors Tuesday, July 15.

Due to their size, Turner said it would take “hundreds of hours” to disassemble and an equal amount of time to reassemble the masts.

While a portion of the Front Street parking lot would accommodate the storage of both masts, Turner said the shipyard may begin construction of Building No. 6 this fall. He said the shipyard's contractor would not be able to put the building up before winter arrives, but the slab and groundwork could be completed.

If the shipyard is able to begin work on Building No. 6 in the fall then the Front Street parking lot would not be available for storage. Instead, the shipyard would possibly look to store the masts on a portion of the Belfast Maskers property.

City Manager Joseph Slocum asked Turner when he anticipates knowing whether or not the shipyard will begin construction on Building No. 6. Turner said the business is in the process of finalizing its financing and he hopes to know by mid-August whether it will be possible to start the construction work.

As an alternative to storing the masts on a portion of the Front Street parking lot, City Planner Wayne Marshall provided a map layout that shows both masts in front of the Maskers Theater building. With that layout, Turner noted the masts would be located closer to Front Street and the shipyard would put up barriers to slow approaching traffic in the area around the masts.

Marshall also added another alternative layout that would involve storing one of the masts next to Building No. 5 and placing the second mast on the Maskers property. Such a configuration would give more room between the Maskers building and Building No. 5 for people accessing the Harbor Walk and Thompson's Wharf.

Councilors approved allowing the shipyard to store masts on a portion of the Front Street parking lot from early September until November and if the parking lot is unavailable city staff will provide an alternative site that would utilize a portion of the Maskers property.