By Nancy Gaines
The fundraising campaign to rehab the Lane's Cove fish shack springs ahead next week with the debut sale of colorful "Save Our Shack" T-shirts to benefit the restoration, and an auction planned for next Saturday, with individual items valued at thousands of dollars, said fundraising chairman Arnie Shore.
Construction is scheduled to get underway by May 4, he said.
Some $10,000 has already been raised toward the estimated $80,000 cost of bringing the 125-year-old shack back to a semblance of its former self — although much of that cost includes donated materials, in-kind and equivalent labor, not cash, Shore said.
Cash donations are about one-third of what is needed, Shore said, with the non-cash help running about halfway to goal. The restoration committee has also applied to the city for $20,000 from the Community Preservation Act fund; a decision on allocation is due in June, said Shore.
In-kind donations from the neighborhood, he said, include cedar shingles and rolled roofing from David Grace, loan of a construction crane from builder Geoffrey Richon, and stone and stone work for the foundation from Hal Wentworth and Nick Parisi.
In addition, 15 people have signed up to perform the actual labor involved in restoring the shack, with more expected by the groundbreaking.
At the silent auction, works by local artists will be on the block, including a painting by Gloucester artist Jeff Weaver, noted chronicler of the working waterfront, valued at $4,400, Shore said.
The T-shirts, featuring a sketch by Jude Wright and design by Jan Weinshanker, are on sale at Woola in Lanesville Center for $15, with all net proceeds going toward the historic reconstruction.
Organizer Barbara Jobe said she hopes other outlets in Lanesville and downtown will help the cause by showcasing the shirts.
The treasured piece of historic Lanesville faced the wrecking ball last summer when the city deemed one of the last surviving "shacks" at Lane's Cove "unsafe and dangerous."
Building Inspector Bill Sanborn condemned the dilapidated wood structure, which is owned by the city, as being so fragile he could not even authorize repair work on it.
The earliest shacks — dozens at their peak, now all gone — were built about 200 years ago, many constructed from shipwrecks, according to neighborhood historian Gregg Smith.
Following community meetings with neighborhood residents, contractors and city officials — including City Council President Jackie Hardy, whose Ward 4 includes Lanesville, and who initiated the meetings — Mayor Carolyn Kirk formed a building committee to find a way to save the shack.
Organizers hope its restoration will result in a reincarnation of the shack, used originally to store and repair nets, as a part-historical, part-practical venue to be seen and enjoyed by locals, students and visitors.
Nancy Gaines is a regular Times correspondent and a longtime writer and editor with both Boston and national publications.