Mitchell Field Committee member Donald Miskill Jr. leads a tour of the property’s administration building in February. The interior of the long-vacant building has fallen into disrepair from neglect and vandalism. (J.W. Oliver photo)

As the town of Harpswell continues to ponder the future of the administration building at George J. Mitchell Field, it is engaging the Midcoast Council of Governments to review options for the building’s use and estimates for rehabilitation or demolition.

Work will start as soon as July 1, with a final report due to the Select Board on Dec. 1.

The town will pay $68 per hour, up to a total of $10,000. Of the $10,000, $9,500 will come from a surplus in the 2022 Mitchell Field budget. The remainder will come from the 2023 Mitchell Field budget or from contingency funds, according to Town Administrator Kristi Eiane.

Midcoast Council of Governments Executive Director Mathew Eddy and Planning Consultant Max Johnstone will perform the work. Both planners are familiar with the area. Eddy is a former Brunswick town planner and lives in Brunswick, while Johnstone grew up in Harpswell.

The pair will obtain up-to-date estimates for rehabilitation or demolition, meet with a donor who has offered to pay for a partial renovation of the building, interview other “parties of interest,” and hold two public meetings before it issues a final report.

Based in Damariscotta, the Midcoast Council of Governments provides economic development and planning services to municipalities and businesses, ranging from applying for federal grants to helping startups secure financing.

The town of Harpswell is a member of the organization. The town’s membership dues will cover 16 hours of work by the planners, but the town must pay for the rest.

The Select Board approved the contract on Thursday, June 8.

“I think it really does what we are hoping an outside, objective entity would come in and do,” Eiane said of the contract.

The vacant brick building across from the beach boasts a sweeping view of Middle Bay, but has fallen into disrepair from neglect and vandalism. If the town rehabilitates the building, it would need to install a septic system and well.

The town’s Mitchell Field Committee conducted a survey about the building in 2022, but the results were inconclusive. Respondents were split on whether to save the building or demolish it. Many wanted more information about costs and options.

After the survey, the committee recommended that the town gather more information and conduct a study to determine possible uses for the building, then turn over the final decision about the building’s future to voters.

Mitchell Field encompasses 120 acres and a half-mile of waterfront. A former U.S. Navy fuel depot, the facility served the Brunswick Naval Air Station from 1954 until the late 1980s. The federal government transferred the land to the town in 2001.