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Rockland to revive housing committees

By Stephen Betts | Apr 05, 2021
Photo by: Stephen Betts The McLain School in Rockland.

Rockland — The Rockland City Council will consider creating two committees to recommend ways to create more housing.

Mayor Ed Glaser is sponsoring an agenda item for the April 12 meeting to create a committee to come up with proposals to convert McLain School into residences.

Another committee would come up with plans on the feasibility of developing housing on upper floors of downtown Main Street buildings.

This will be the second time the Council will vote on studying housing in McLain and in upper downtown Main Street floors. The directive was first made by the Council in December 2017.

The McLain School committee went as far as soliciting proposals from potential developers. There were four responses — three for housing and one from a nonprofit gallery/foundation, with shared living space for artists.

The volunteer McLain housing committee received proposals in May 2019 from Penquis CAP for affordable rental housing units for people 55 years old and older; Avesta Housing of Portland for affordable housing for the same age group and Wishrock, a national company, for 23 affordable housing units in the building.

The Ellis Beauregard Ellis Foundaton also expressed interest in the building for housing and studios for artists. The foundation has since come up with plans to develop its housing at a Knowlton Street campus.

The three-story brick McLain building was built in 1896 and served for nearly a century as a neighborhood elementary school. For about 20 years, the building was used for administrative offices and alternative education programs.

The Council will also consider at its April 12 meeting to appoint members of the new McLain committee. The nominees for the committee are Rodney Lynch, Richard Warner, Gloria Stein, Kathy Lane, Rep. Valli Geiger and Donna McNeil.

The upper floor downtown committee commissioned in December 2017 never came up with recommendations.

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Comments (9)
Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 06, 2021 10:53

We need more on the tax base not less.  A charter school is not that.


Posted by: Ed Glaser | Apr 06, 2021 09:55

Charter School? Yes, I've been talking about that for years - we are the 'Arts Capital," so it would only make sense to have an arts school here. Not surprisingly, the inside of the McLain School looks like a school house. But, that would take a lot more money than turning it to housing, and we also need that. If you know someone with enough money to put a proposal together, I'm sure that the city (if we ever get the building) would be happy to hear the proposal.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Apr 06, 2021 08:30

Great Idea Mike, even better if the Old High school (now called the Lincoln street center)  could be purchased and a causeway constructed to connect the two buildings.  Would be good development opportunity for someone.

Posted by: Michael Mullins | Apr 05, 2021 22:07

How about a charter school for the McLain.  Would be great to have a school right in downtown.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 05, 2021 10:44

The City of Rockland should NEVER be in the Real Estate business!!!  I read some of the minutes of meetings of the Council meetings and what goes on would shock all of you!  So much unnecessary spending.  Did you know that $10,000.00 from the TIF Tillson Ave fund is earmarked to put sidewalks in on both sides of the street from Park Drive to Tillson Ave?

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 05, 2021 10:42

It is easy, put Mclain School up for auction.  SELL IT!!!!!


Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 05, 2021 10:41

Isn't it up to the landlords of the Main Street buildings on what they do with their upper floors?  This is so ridiculous!


Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Apr 05, 2021 09:04

Oh joy another committee.  It's getting a little late in the season, committees are a great way to while away those cold winter evening especially now when you don't even need to leave the comfort of your own living room. Soon it will be time to get outdoors and in just two short months start digging in the garden.  Wouldn't it be easier just to reach into Stuart's file cabinet and retrieve the file from last years committee ? All the work has been done, just get back on the phone and tell the various developers that you have changed your mind yet again and wish to re-open the case. I'm sure the short list of potentials are anxious to jump back into the game with the allure of TIF and Federal money to fill their Easter basket.  As far as the "upper floor downtown committee" why not just appoint all those who spoke against "tiny homes"  they would be happy to divert the City's short attention span.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Apr 05, 2021 05:08

This is not a 'talk it to death' council. I believe we will see some action this time.  Kudos. Looking forward to hearing  more  SOON.

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