Select board will decide on Rockland St. home

Herrick has proposed removal, repurposing structure
By Louis Bettcher | Apr 09, 2018
Photo by: Louis Bettcher A view of the property at 647 Rockland Street in Rockport.

Rockport — A long-empty home at the corner of Routes 17 and 90 in Rockport has been offered to members of the public by the Rockport Select Board. The board may decide who assumes ownership of the building next month.

The structure, a two-story home, sits on a parcel of land at 647 Rockland St., which abuts the George A. Parker Fire Station West Rockport. The town acquired the property in anticipation of renovations and the possible expansion of the station, but in order to complete any construction the structure in question would need to be removed or demolished.

Over the past two months, interested parties have had the option of submitting proposals to the town, expressing interest in the structure: the deadline for proposals is April 13. The board had previously considered the demolition of the building or having the Rockport Fire Department use the structure to conduct a controlled burn.

In his April 6 manager's report, Town Manager Rick Bates said that he met with Rockport resident Dave Herrick regarding a proposal which Herrick had made before the board months earlier. Bates said Herrick's proposal was "very reasonable," and that the town had advertised seeking proposals from other parties. Bates said that he will make a recommendation to the select board next month.

The Rockport Select Board met on Feb. 13 and discussed offering the sale and removal of the property at 647 Rockland St. to the public, and heard a a proposal from Herrick to remove the structure and bring it onto his property, located approximately a quarter of a mile away.

Herrick said that he was prepared to remove the structure using his own equipment, thereby not costing the town any money to conduct a demolition or removal if they were to engage the public works department.

Selectman Owen Casas said that an additional benefit of Herrick taking the structure was that it would be reused and, once placed on Herrick's property, could be taxed by the town. Another possibility, if Herrick removes the structure, is that he would fill in the building's foundation -- something that would not be accomplished by a controlled burn or demolition.

Chairman Ken McKinley said in February that the transaction of an individual taking the structure, if it were to remain intact, represents the sale of property, and a nominal amount of money would need to be paid by Herrick or any other individual in order to take ownership of it. In addition, the sale or offer of the building to the public would require a town vote, appearing in June as a town meeting article. McKinley added that it would be important to make the availability of the structure known to all Rockport residents.

"Certainly it seems as though we could advertise for proposals to remove the house and make a decision based on the proposals that come in. And if [Herrick's] proposal says 'I'll take the house and do all this and give you a dollar for it,' that's fine. My guess is that there aren't a lot of people who have a piece of property in the proximity that you do," said McKinley. He said that from the town's point of view it is important that the property is not left in a hazardous condition.

Last November, Rockport Fire Chief Jason Peasley presented two options to the select board for renovating the West Rockport Fire Station. The options ranged in cost between approximately $161,000 and $400,000.

Both options would involve repairing the station's roof. The $161,000 plan, Option 1, would also involve expanding the existing truck bay that houses fire engines. Mitchell reported that currently there are only six inches of extra space available -- four at the front and two at the rear of the bay -- in which to park one of the town's fire trucks.

Option 1 was originally estimated to cost approximately $85,000, but this figure was increased to $161,000 following the purchase of a small parcel of land on an adjacent property to provide room for the bay expansion, as well as the estimate for roof work. The roof replacement plan was approved during a capital improvement process last year. At that time, funds were set aside to cover approximately $120,000 of the work.

The $400,000 option would involve removing the existing fire engine bay, along with the center segment of the fire station, which comprises an office, bathroom and kitchenette that currently has a basement under it. In its place would be built two truck bays of adequate size for two of the town's engines.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.