WATERVILLE — City councilors unanimously opted for Port City Architecture to help select the site for a new police station and design the building.

The vote Tuesday night followed the Police Station Study Committee’s prior recommendation that councilors approve a contract with the Portland-based firm for as much as $188,000.

Councilors earlier had approved spending $2.5 million to either build or buy and renovate an existing structure for a new police station. The station in the basement of City Hall is cramped, outdated and inadequate for modern police needs, according to city officials.

WBRC, of Bangor, and TFH, of Portland also bid on the project.

Waterville City Manager Mike Roy said the study committee has narrowed its focus to two sites for the new station: the city-owned parking lot at Head of Falls, off Front Street, where a new building would be constructed; and the Morning Sentinel building on Front Street, which would need to be retrofitted.

Roy said the land owned by Hight Partners on Colby Street, near Waterville District Court and the Social Security Administration building, is no longer being considered as a site.

Councilor George Myers Jr., D-Ward 2, asked Roy if Mayor Dana Sennett, who is an advertising account manager for the Sentinel, is part of the city’s team negotiating with the owners of the newspaper. Roy said Sennett is not.

Sennett, who was defeated by Karen Heck in last week’s mayoral election, was not at Tuesday’s meeting. Council Chairman Charles Stubbert Jr., D-Ward 1, ran the meeting.

The Police Station Study Committee’s next meeting is 4 p.m. Monday at 4 p.m. in Council Chambers.

In other business, the council unanimously rescinded a resolution it approved in October that sought a legal ruling on whether it was appropriate to take money out of the city’s Haines Charitable Trust for a wing at Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter.

Councilors then unanimously approved creating a $250,000 reserve account within the same trust fund to provide annual support for needy women and children at the shelter.

Betty Palmer, executive director of the shelter, said ground could be broken as soon as January for its 40-bed, $2.7 million shelter.

She said about $750,000 remains to be raised.

“We’ll take care of women and children whether we have a wing or not,” she said, adding that so far this year, the shelter has assisted 95 women. In 2010, Palmer said it sheltered 92 women and in 2009 it supported 88.

The William T. Haines Charitable Trust was established in the 1920s after the city received $100,000 from Haines’ will. The will stipulated income from the fund be used for destitute women and children who do not receive city assistance and need help.

The city administers the trust, which has grown to about $550,000.

Beth Staples — 861-9252

[email protected]

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