August 23, 2019
Following the collapse on August 4th of the 95 Mechanic Street Wharf, Portsmouth DPW brought in an emergency team to complete demolition of the buildings and to secure the site. A Pickering Marine barge and crane worked from the water while Renaud Industries deployed two excavators to take apart the buildings. The demolition work does not include the existing house.
The City acquired the property in 2014 in anticipation of the need to replace the Mechanic Street pump station. That work is included in the FY23 & FY24 CIP. At the time of purchase, City engineers determined that the wharf and its c. 1949 buildings were beyond repair and not safe to enter. The buildings were cleaned out and a perimeter fence was installed.
Before the collapse, City staff had been developing documents to request a construction bid to replace the wharf and seawall as first steps that needed to be completed before other future site improvements at 95 Mechanic Street and the public properties on either side. Staff had also secured the appropriate DES permits in anticipation of the demolition work. Because of the recent emergency demolition, the City will be requesting bids to include just the construction of the new wharf and deck and work on the sea wall.
The City will hold a public meeting in September to update the neighborhood and other interested residents on the plans for rebuilding the seawall and reconstructing the wharf. The plan must be implemented in phases, because to keep the pumping station in operation, the new station must be built in an adjacent location. That relocation opens up possibilities for other programming and neighborhood activities on the rest of the site. The meeting is intended to discuss those opportunities presented by the reconfiguration of the site that might be included in the master plan for the property.
For more information, including the City’s historical documentation report on the building when it acquired the property, click here.