Members of the Developers Collaborative, who are planning for the future development of the former Maine State Prison property, held a focus group with interested members of the public March 8 at Watts Hall in Thomaston.

The developers had previously put out a survey to find out what features people would like to see in the potential development. The survey also gauged interest in buying property in the new development.

Those who filled out the surveys showing interest in the property were invited to the meeting. About 15 people attended.

The presenters showed the latest drawings and plans for the property. The plans call for a tree-lined park or mall at the center of the property. A total of 15 duplexes are shown arranged on the streets on either side of the park, providing a total of 30 homes or units.

At present, the developers are looking at single-story condominiums. Each unit would have two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a single-car garage.

The target demographic is for residents in the 50 to 70 age range, who hope to retire and downsize from their larger homes. The planners said that looked like a marketable plan.

It was announced at the meeting that while the Penobscot Bay YMCA has not yet decided if it is going to open a second facility in the Thomaston area, it has focused on the former prison property as the preferred site. The YMCA is considering building a second facility to serve those in Knox County communities who are not within a convenient drive of the Rockport facility.

Town Manager Valmore Blastow said YMCA officials plan a walk-through on the property Thursday, March 11.

Because it was a focus group March 8, the planners and developers were there to gather information. They asked for opinions on the proposed plans and what kinds of features the homes should offer.

Questions were raised about whether the buildings needed to be in a set grid or could be designed in a different way. Those present also discussed whether the proposed front porches should be bigger. The developers said the plans call for spacious back patios.

Some present said the planners need to keep Thomaston’s character in mind. One woman commented that she didn’t want it to be like New Jersey.

The developers were asked about what kind of association fees the residents in the development might have to pay. The developers said the fees would be relatively small given the amount of maintenance on the trails around the development that would be picked up by the town. They said homeowners would have to pay to have their lawns mowed or driveways plowed, and those costs would be shared on the property.

The survey received 122 responses.

“Of the total, nearly two-thirds indicated a potential personal interest in buying (46 yes, 32 not sure),” a report on the survey said. The report was written by Frank O’Hara, who is working with the developers and who made presentations at the meeting March 8.

“The overwhelming place of residence for respondents is Thomaston itself (101), or immediately abutting towns,” the report said. “Three were from out of state.”

O’Hara said 60 percent of the respondents were in the 50 to 70 age range and 69 percent of those potentially interested were in that age range.

“With regard to price, 58 percent of those who answered said below $225,000,” the report said. “But a quarter said over $225,000, and 18 percent said it depended on what they got for their current home.”

The developers said they must have some committed buyers on board before construction begins. They said they will not just build condominiums and hope buyers will come.

The current plans for the project also show businesses along the Main Street portion of the property with parking directly behind the businesses. Some of the landscaping on the property has already been completed including work on the park, the trail, the overlook plazas, the flag poles and the prison memorial.

The Developers Collaborative is based in Portland. The partners are Richard Berman, Kevin Bunker and James Hatch.