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March 28, 2024

Maine Seacoast Mission’s $1.8M upgrade of Downeast campus is underway

drawing with words and colors COURTESY / MAINE SEACOAST MISSION The project includes renovation and expansion of the building at the head of campus to create an engagement center, which includes an administrative wing, program staging area and new food pantry.

Renovations and construction totaling $1.8 million are underway at Maine Seacoast Mission’s 63-acre Downeast campus in Cherryfield, and an open house for the first phase is scheduled on June 12.

The mission said this week it completed a $1.8 million capital campaign to fund the project.

The nonprofit, headquartered in Northeast Harbor, is well known for the services it delivers with its vessel, the Sunbeam, on the islands of Matinicus, Monhegan, Isle au Haut, Frenchboro, Swan’s Island, Great Cranberry and Islesford.

But the mission's Cherryfield campus, in Washington County, also provides critical help including a much-needed food pantry. In addition, the campus provides educational and recreational space and room for programs to work together and coordinate their services.

line drawing
Courtesy / Maine Seacoast Mission
The second phase includes a new challenge course and retreat cabins.

The first phase of the project, on track to be completed this spring, includes a complete renovation and expansion of the building at the head of campus to create an "engagement center." This will include an administrative wing, program staging area and new food pantry. The pantry will have increased storage area with a community space for healthy living programs.

In 2021, the food pantry at the campus supported 2,033 people across 784 households each month, distributing 63,000 pounds of food.

An education center there provides over 1,900 hours of educational programming across seven schools and works with over 500 families.

The second phase of the expansion is also underway. It includes building a new pole-based challenge course to replace an aging ropes course at the Ed and Connie Greaves Education Center, known as EdGE. The new course was designed to be safer, more visible and easier to maintain. 

In addition, two retreat cabins will be added near the Weald Bethel Community Center, which will allow the mission to serve as a day-long and overnight retreat hub for partners, housing improvement volunteers and youth.

Additional planned work includes updating the campus trail system, adding new play areas and a gazebo, and creating new, clearly marked pedestrian paths along Weald Bethel Lane. 

The campaign has been supported by Connie and Buddy Bates, Roger and Judy Clapp, Joyce and Les Coleman, Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, First National Bank, Good Shepherd Food Bank, Ann and David Ingram, Machias Savings Bank, Red Empress Foundation, Cornelia Cogswell Rossi Foundation, Jasper Wyman & Son, and others.

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