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08/09/2016 12:00 AM

Grass Island Shack Construction Set to Begin in Guilford

Eagle Scout candidate John Markowski discusses his plan for the Grass Island Shack with the Board of Selectmen. Photo by Zoe Roos/ The Courier

After months of planning and fundraising, Eagle Scout candidate John Markowski is now ready to begin construction on the iconic Grass Island Shack. After receiving final architectural drawings and official approval from the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting on Aug. 1, Markowski is planning to start work within the next few weeks.

Markowski established “Save the Shack” as his Eagle Scout project back in 2015. Since November of last year, he has been working on the fundraising part of the project. To date, Markowski has raised $26,000 through fundraisers and a matching grant from the Guilford Foundation up to $10,000.

With the goal to complete the project by the end of the summer, Markowski said he is ready to move forward.

“The first stage of the project will be removing the old deck and roof,” he said. “I would like to start that as soon as possible to get the project underway. Once those are removed, the center section of the structure will be straightened. Once that is completed, the next phase will be to put on the new deck and roof. After that, cosmetic work will take place such as painting.”

To help with construction, Markowski said he is still looking for donations.

“The original estimate for materials was $12,000 and that is just for materials—labor needs to be paid for, but I am hoping that a lot of labor and materials will be donated from local contractors and building supply companies,” he said.

At the BOS meeting, Markowski assured board members that his work would not change the look of the shack, but would simply remediate the damage cause by rough weather over the past several years.

The town currently owns the little red shack. The current structure was once privately owned and erected in 1930, after a fire burned down a circa-1900 summer cottage on the grounds. In the 1950s, it was pushed up the beach to higher ground to avoid rising waters. In 1963, the shack and its perimeter of land were given to Guilford.

First Selectman Joe Mazza said he was pleased to see this project moving forward.

“This is probably the most ambitious project I have seen,” he said. “This is fantastic. Thank you very much for doing this project.”

All money donated will go towards construction. Any residual funds left after the project is completed will be placed in a fund for future maintenance of the shack. To learn more about the project or to donate,