WATERVILLE — City councilors tonight will take a third and final vote on whether to build a $2.75 million police station at Head of Falls.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be preceded by a 6:15 p.m. executive session to discuss tax abatements and a 6:45 p.m. public hearing on a Community Development Block Grant.

Last week, councilors heard a proposal from officials representing MaineToday Media who want to sell that company’s Morning Sentinel building on Front Street to the city for use as a police station.

Anthony Armstrong and Robert Baldacci of Baldacci Real Estate Group, in Portland, asked the council to allow them two weeks to come up with a plan to make structural changes to the building to make it more suitable for use as a police station.

City Council Chairman Charles “Fred” Stubbert Jr., D-Ward 1, supports retrofitting the Sentinel building for use as a police station, but City Manager Michael Roy and the Police Station Study Committee favor building a station at Head of Falls.

Roy cites several reasons, including lack of space to build a sally port and have adequate room for traffic to go around the rear of the building, lack of parking spaces on the property and inadequate space for building a backup generator, among other issues. Roy also says the Sentinel building does not meet structural code for public safety buildings.

However, Armstrong says changes to the building can be made to make it work for the police station. He and Baldacci want to present the city with a proposal to make appropriate changes to the building, then sell it to the city.

The city last year hired Port City Architecture, of Portland, to design a police station. Roy said Monday that the city has spent between $10,000 and $15,000 so far for Port City’s services.

He said if the Sentinel does its own design and construction prior to a sale, the city would have to figure out what to do with Port City, which was hired to design either a new building or a renovation of an existing building.

In other matters tonight, councilors will consider taking a third and final vote to approve a tax increment financing district and adopting a related development program to let Kennebec Valley Gas Co. build a natural gas pipeline through the city.

Roy supports the plan.

“I think natural gas is very, very important as an energy alternative,” he said. “I’m not, generally speaking, a big TIF (tax increment financing) advocate; but I’m convinced in this case that in order to secure the financing it needs, municipal approvals are very, very important.”

If councilors approve the district and development plan, 80 percent of property tax revenue for the first 10 years of the pipeline’s use would go to the developer and 20 percent to the city; for the next five years, 60 percent would go to the developer and 40 percent to the city.

Councilors also will consider authorizing Roy to complete paperwork for accepting $100,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the state Department of Economic and Community Development for improving job creation help to the Jobs for Maine Graduates program and the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]


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