By Brian Early
KITTERY, Maine — After years of effort to both save and rehabilitate the Wood Island Life Saving Station at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, the work to fix the dilapidated structure may finally happen this year if the Town Council approves two agreements at its meeting Monday.
Wood Island in Kittery Point was used for decades by the U.S. Coast Guard and its precursor, the U.S. Life Saving Service, to assist mariners from along the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. It was also used in World War II by the U.S. Navy to help protect Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
In 1973, years after the Coast Guard moved to a location in New Castle, the National Park Service deeded the property to the town of Kittery under the agreement that the town keep the island open to the public for passive recreation and maintain the grounds and buildings. However, the town had not maintained the building and it fell into serious disrepair. For years, the town has struggled to decide on what to do with the building and has at times considered demolishing it.