THOMASTON — Rental fee discussions caused concerns that the Thomaston Historical Society will no longer be able to use town facilities for its events.

The Select Board held a workshop Sept. 20 to begin discussions on renting town properties such as the gazebo on the Thomaston Green.

These discussions were prompted by a request from Taylor Karl to hold a wedding in the gazebo June 25, 2022. The board authorized the wedding at their July 26 meeting, with a fee to be determined during a future workshop.

Susan Devlin of the Thomaston Historical Society said the organization uses Watts Hall for monthly history talks from May to October.

The most recent talk was Sept. 14 on Maine’s first governor, William King.

These events are free for the public. Devlin said the society usually does its own set up and clean up.

If the town charges a fee for these events, Devlin said the society may have to find another location. This depends on how much the fee is.

Devlin suggested perhaps the board allow Thomaston-based organizations not holding fundraisers to use town property for free. She said this is a common practice in many other municipalities.

Town Manager Kara George mentioned the recent Quilts of Valor event required some work from staff to set up. George said perhaps the town could charge a custodial fee for events like the history talks.

Board Chair Diane Giese asked about putting one person in charge of the town-owned properties, either as a volunteer or as a paid position.

George said it would be nice to have someone in charge, as she did not want to act as a landlord in her duties as town manager.

The discussion was ultimately tabled, and will be continued at a future date.

The first draft of the rental fee schedule, made by George, included the Thomaston Green park, the gazebo, the Academy building gym and the multipurpose room at the Municipal Building.

George said she did not include the Academy or Watts Hall because those properties were separate and had a board to manage them already.

Initially the fee schedule prohibited alcohol at all locations. After some discussion, the board agreed alcohol would be allowed at some locations with proper insurance and licenses.

The schedule is broken up by a half day of one to four hours and a full day of more than four hours.

The prices varied depending on if the renter was a resident, a non-resident, a non-profit or a business.

The price for a resident to rent the gazebo was listed as $10 per hour for a half day and $50 for a full day.

The board agreed these prices were not finalized, and the draft was just a starting point.

George also compiled a document of local halls and their prices for comparison.

The American Legion in Thomaston costs between $225 and $300. The Masonic Temple in Thomaston costs $300 with a $100 deposit for cleaning. The Rockland Elks Lodge costs between $450 to $1,248, depending on the renter.

The current costs for renting Watts Hall is $40 per hour or $200 per day for a private individual.

Prices increase for commercial/business renters.

More information about Watts Hall rentals can be found at thomastonmaine.gov/wattshall.