An hour into the informal first soiree of a new tongue-in-cheek Belfast Yacht Club May 19, Paul Naron got out a hand saw and announced he was opening his waterfront property to public parks on either side.

The move was intended to join two sections of Belfast Harbor Walk separated by private property that necessitated a looping detour in the public path between Heritage Park and Steamboat Landing Park.

Guests on Friday evening took turns sawing through two thick timbers separating Naron's property from the adjacent Steamboat Landing Park while onlookers riffed on Ronald Reagan's Cold War demand, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

The heavy slabs of wood fell loose to cheers from the 30 people assembled for the party, many of whom took the opportunity to stroll over the property line for a look.

Naron, who owns the nearby United Farmers Market of Maine, bought the 0.8-acre waterfront lot at 15 Front St. at the end of March for $1 million from longtime owner Consumers Fuel Co.

The property had been used for coal and fuel storage. There is an active marina on the water. It had not been on the market. Rather, Naron said, the sale came out of informal conversations with Consumers Fuel owner John Holmes.

The city was less successful in its dealings with Consumers Fuel during the construction of the Harbor Walk. The 0.7-mile waterfront promenade mostly follows the scenic former railroad route from Armistice footbridge to Steamboat Landing but veers inland to Front Street for the last segment because the city couldn't get permission to make a straight shot through the former coal storage lot, officials said at the time.

Shortly after Naron bought the waterfront lot, he had a visiting friend paint a sign reading "Belfast Yacht Club" on the side of old garage on the property and sold memberships to the "bull—t club" for $2.

Naron had kept the evening's plans secret to everyone but a friend who started the cuts with a chainsaw earlier in the day.

Speaking before the party, Naron said with evident disbelief that no city officials approached him after he bought the property to ask about his plans. His plan all along, he said, was to open the walkway.

"This is the missing link!" he said.

After exploring the southern opening, Naron's guests cut down a section of the chain-link fence to Heritage Park.

Whether the gesture can function as a shortcut in the Harbor Walk remains to be seen. The physical barriers are gone, but one private lot owned by Haven Properties LLC still stands between Naron's land and Steamboat Landing.

Naron said he didn't have plans to make a formal walkway on his land, or any specific plans. Until he got out the saw Friday evening, he claimed he wasn't sure that he would go through with tearing down the walls on either side of his property.

"I don't ever know what I'm going to do," he said. "I wanted to open it up at least. It's not an official thing, but I don't mind people walking through there."