Committee to consider Naples cupola issues

The cupola from the old Bay of Naples Inn sits on a former campground on Route 114 in Naples.

NAPLES — Selectboard Member Kevin Rogers has agreed to lead a town committee to assess the feasibility of moving a historic cupola to a more visible part of town.

“I’m willing to spearhead it,” Rogers said about the committee Monday night.

The Naples Selectboard has been debating whether the town will get financially involved in moving the approximately 22-foot-tall structure, which once crowned the Bay of Naples Inn before the building was torn down in the 1960s.

The cupola now sits on an old campground property on Route 114 that was sold this fall from the Ruhlin family to Michael Courtney, who hopes to sell part or all of the property, but expressed interest in working with the town.

The previous owner, Jamie Ruhlin, has said one of his late father Jim’s final requests was to have the structure given to the town.

“I’ve spoken to the new owner of the property, I’ve spoken to a number of contractors around, and I’ve got a bunch of people that will volunteer,” Rogers told the selectboard.

“Thank you for taking charge,” Selectboard member Jim Turpin told Rogers Monday night. “Somebody needed to.”

Turpin also suggested the committee include someone with experience obtaining grants.

Rogers said he hoped to have committee members with specific areas of expertise, including a mover, electrician, site worker, a tech person to help gather feedback and coordinate communication, and others.

Rogers said he has also reached out to utility companies to get an estimate of what it might cost to move wires in order to get the cupola off the old campground property in one piece. He said he had heard back from Spectrum, but declined somewhat jokingly Monday night to say what the estimated cost would be.

Several members of the surrounding committee have suggested the cupola could be transported in pieces to avoid having to move the wires.

After some discussion, the board eventually approved by a vote of 3-1 a framework for the committee that was put together by interim Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz.

That framework tasks the committee with reviewing ownership of the cupola, its current condition, identifying possible locations, estimating the cost of moving it, or other relevant factors.

“Obviously, we want it to be on town property,” Rogers said, listing the town beach, village green, and by the fire station as possible future locations for the cupola.

The committee must submit an interim report to the board by March 21 and a formal report by April 9 along with a potential appropriation request that could be included in the annual town meeting.

Membership requires a minimum of seven people and allows the board to appoint up to 15 people to the committee, which is slated to sunset once it delivers its final report.

Selectboard Member Richard Cebra made a motion to use Berkowitz’s framework as the structure for the cupola committee.

“There has to be structure,” Cebra said. “Let’s make sure we dot our I’s and cross our T’s …”

Chairman Jim Grattelo was the only member of the board to vote against the committee framework motion, saying he thought it should be a more informal committee.

“I view this as an ad hoc committee that’s doing some investigative work and research,” Grattelo said.

“I never said I didn’t care about the cupola,” he said. “I’m not willing to have an endless budget.”

“I absolutely have no problem if somebody can come up with a reasonable solution,” Grattelo added Tuesday. “It has to make sense. It has to make economic sense.”

The Naples town secretary said volunteer forms for all town committees are available at the town office and people interested in volunteering for a committee can also call the office.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

The cupola from the old Bay of Naples Inn sits on a former campground on Route 114 in Naples.