Thomaston selectmen consider campus master plan for downtown
Thomaston — The Thomaston Board of Selectmen discussed options related to a downtown municipal campus to include the town office, police station, library and fire station at its meeting Sept. 10.
The plans for the project fell through after the economic collapse of 2008 following a needs assessment of the town. The proposed campus plan has re-emerged following an offer from St. Brendan the Navigator Parish for the town to purchase the St. James Church building that adjoins the Thomaston Academy.
Municipal facilities funds, accepted by the town in 2007, can be used to review potential design plans for municipal, retail and public space. The fund balance is $2,280.
Potential ideas included an addition to the fire station and renovating the Thomaston Academy building for town office and police station space.
The board of selectmen inspected the church building in June and received a real estate broker's opinion of the value, totaling $550,000. The town does not have an independent appraisal of the building.
Board member Jonathan Eaton said "if money were not an issue," the church building would be an appropriate space for the library.
Town Manager Valmore Blastow said there are varying needs. "You could go library, fire/ambulance, police, town office," he said. He added that renovations to all municipal entities is not financially feasible at this time. "We have to make choices," he said.
The items pertaining to the purchase of the building and an architect review for municipal reuse of the building were tabled. The select board scheduled a workshop for Tuesday, Sept. 18 to continue discussion of the option to buy the church building.
"Everything we do is about funding and not increasing taxes," said Blastow.
Blastow also suggested the first floor of the Watts Block building being used as retail space and the second floor remaining for public use if municipal office were relocated.
"However it works out, there's going to be some money spent. I'm not opposed to taking that forward if it's approved by the town and we're going to be the better for it," said Board Member Bill Hahn.
The board also approved an application to the Maine Recreational Trails Program for funding to purchase the Thorndike property requested by Pollution Control Superintendent John Fancy. The active trail system would run through the property if the town was to acquire it. The state recreational trails program allows the town to apply for a $35,000 grant.