NORRIDGEWOCK — The town’s tax increment financing advisory committee will go before the Board of Selectmen on May 3 to ask for support to go forward with a request for proposals for repurposing the vacant fire station on Main Street.

Town Manager Richard LaBelle said the committee, which has met twice, has developed a set of criteria for what it would like to accomplish with the TIF district, which allows municipalities to capture revenue for various municipal development projects from the tax value of improvements.

Norridgewock’s TIF district is centered around the Summit Natural Gas pipeline.

LaBelle said the committee wants to focus on the downtown area primarily. The TIF extends beyond the downtown area, but LaBelle said the committee wanted to focus on the area around U.S. Route 2 and Route 39 and affect the downtown, especially in terms of aesthetics.

One of the main focuses in revitalizing Main Street centers on the vacant fire station, which has been empty for well over a year. Voters at this year’s Town Meeting approved allowing the Board of Selectmen to dispose of the property, and LaBelle said the committee is open to a wide variety of ideas for repurposing it. He said the only concerns the committee has expressed involve aesthetics and the effect on the economy. He said the committee wants to be sure whatever replaces the old fire station helps create new jobs in the area by boosting the economy and doesn’t simply take jobs away from existing businesses in what LaBelle called “attrition.”

“We want to stimulate growth in the downtown,” he said. “If the TIF is properly executed and the community comes together, we can make that happen.”

LaBelle will be drafting the RFP and hopes to have a “loose draft” of it in time for the selectmen’s May 3 meeting. He said the committee has a set of criteria for the RFP, which fall into three parts: the ability to strengthen the community both economically and aesthetically; investment needs, meaning will the project be privately funded or require TIF expenses; and the credentials of the applicant.

“Nothing’s going to be exclusionary,” he said.

The committee’s hope is that the selectmen will support these criteria and the issuing of an RFP, and after that they will set up a time frame for moving forward.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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