NORRIDGEWOCK — The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday unanimously voted at a special meeting to sell the vacant fire station on Main Street to a local businessman to expand his business.

The town has been looking to revitalize the downtown area. For that reason, it formed a committee to look at opportunities for the station, which was the town’s fire station from 1960 until 2016 when a new station was built elsewhere on Main Street. The Tax Increment Financing Advisory Committee received two proposals earlier this summer for the building at 70 Main St., both from local business owners. One came from Eric Everett, of Everett’s Tire LLC, proposing to use the building for storage space for used-tire sales; and the other from Chris Alves, proposing to establish a laundromat. The committee recommended the Board of Selectmen enter into negotiations with Everett over his tire storage proposal.

After an executive session that lasted roughly half an hour, the selectmen agreed to sell the old fire station to Everett for $50,000. Chairman Ronald Frederick said $30,000 of that would be due upon closing, and the remaining $20,000 would be due before September 2018. There was no discussion, and the board authorized Town Manager Richard LaBelle to enter into a tenancy agreement with Everett.

Everett still will have to go before the Planning Board for permission to change the use of the building.

Everett’s proposal cited increased sales of used tires, which is why he wants to purchase and develop the site to supplement his existing business on Main Street. Everett also is proposing to develop an auto detailing business in the building. Alves, in addition to proposing a laundromat, sought to include dry cleaning or a wash-and-fold operation as well. Alves, who owns a local plumbing and heating business, was also open to the possibility of including a business such as a barber shop in the space.

The committee reviewed the proposals in late July and made its recommendation to the selectmen in a memo dated Aug. 10. The selectmen had met twice since the recommendation was sent to them and discussed the issue, but they did not make their final decision until the Wednesday meeting that included an executive session.

In addition to recommending Everett’s proposal in their memo, the TIF committee recommends the Board of Selectmen “work with the proposer to negotiate a greater purchase price for the building, to achieve a higher degree of aesthetic appeal (beyond painting/siding the building), and to have aesthetic improvements completed within a specified time period.

Improving the exterior was not part of the deed, but will be an agreement Everett has with LaBelle.

The committee focused on the downtown. The TIF extends beyond the downtown area, but the committee wants to focus on the area around U.S. Route 2 and Route 139, especially in terms of aesthetics. Redevelopment of the vacant fire station was one of the TIF committee’s first charges.

A TIF district 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. Voters at this year’s Town Meeting approved allowing the Board of Selectmen to dispose of the fire station property.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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