HALLOWELL — City Manager Nate Rudy told the City Council Monday that negotiations about moving the historic Dummer House to make room for a new city parking lot are progressing and may be nearing a conclusion.

Mayor Mike Walker and other city officials said they’d like the project completed and the new parking lot built before next year’s Water Street reconstruction project begins in April, and Rudy said it’s an aggressive timeline he hopes will be met.

Rudy said Linda Bean, the granddaughter of L.L. Bean’s founder, owns the Dummer House and adjacent land bordered by Second and Central streets, and she’s reached an agreement with the city to move the historic house and sell the remaining property to Hallowell. Bean and the city have agreed on a $147,000 price for the remaining parcels of land.

Bean will continue to own the house when it moves to its new location — on the corner of Second and Central streets — and Preservation Timber Framing in Berwick will handle the move and rehabilitation of the historic building. The agreement with Bean and the city states the house would be moved no later than Nov. 15.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Walker said. A special council meeting, or public meeting, may be needed as mandated by the city’s charter, if the city agrees to purchase the land from Bean.

The lack of ample parking on and near downtown Hallowell has been something residents and business owners have lamented for years. Hallowell voters approved a $2.36 million bond package in late April that included $300,000 for improvements to Central Street parking, and Rudy said that money will go a long way toward converting the former Dummer House parcel into a parking lot.

Rudy said once negotiations are complete, the project can begin. He said the work, including relocation of the Dummer House and construction of the new parking lot, would be completed by the end of the year. He said it’s important to have the entrances and exits to the parking lots established as soon as possible.

“We want to get this done this winter, because we’re really on a time crunch,” the city manager said. “At best, we’re going to get a gravel parking lot with the money we have.”

The council also received an update on the efforts to help downtown businesses during the Water Street reconstruction. The Down with the Crown Committee has met several times to discuss ways to help minimize the effect the reconstruction project has on downtown businesses.

The group includes member of the Hallowell Board of Trade and the Arts and Cultural Committee. Their ideas include weekly contests, an archaeological dig, opening ceremony and kickoff party, waterfront tours and construction demonstrations for children. The committee is soliciting local banks and the council for donations to help fund the many events it would like to hold during the construction period.

In other business, the council unanimously approved Rudy negotiating the purchase of new digital radios for the city’s fire department — at a cost of about $29,500 — and the purchase of a new police cruiser, which Rudy said should cost around $28,000. The council unanimously gave Rudy approval to negotiate the purchase of a new plow truck at an estimated cost of about $82,000.

There was also a discussion of ordinance language related to parking on Central Street on the southwest corner of Second and Central streets. The revised ordinance would eliminate parking on Central, Union and Academy streets between Second Street and the railroad tracks and on the south side of Union Street between Water and Second streets.

There would also be no parking on both sides of Litchfield Road from Second Street to Middle Street; on both sides of Second Street from Litchfield Road to Grove Street; on Litchfield Road from Middle Street to the Maine Turnpike overpass; and on both sides of Middle Street from Litchfield Street to Grove Street.

The council also unanimously approved the warrant and notice of referendum election for the Regional School Unit 2’s plan to build a new consolidated school in Monmouth. The school’s construction cost of about $26.2 million will be funded completely by the state, and a majority of affirmative votes from residents in the five RSU 2 municipalities — Hallowell, Farmingdale, Monmouth, Richmond and Dresden — is needed to approve the plan.

The new school would replace Monmouth Middle and Henry L. Cottrell Elementary, and Mayor Mark Walker said any added cost would be offset by savings the district would realize from a more efficient heating and electrical system.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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