FARMINGDALE — Farmingdale selectman Wayne Kilgore announced Wednesday night that the town has purchased a piece of property that will be the site of the town’s new fire station.

Kilgore said the town paid $190,000 for the nearly one-acre double lot at 571 Maine Ave. It is located next to Gosline’s Hardware on the Kennebec River side of Maine Avenue, also known as U.S. Route 201 and Route 27.

The current residents, who have lived in a house on the property for decades, have several weeks to vacate the property, Kilgore said. The plan, Kilgore said, is to have the property cleared sometime this fall.

“It’s something that’s been needed for a long time,” Kilgore said. “We’ve managed to get through all the hurdles.”

Kilgore said the location, less than a mile from the current station, is perfect and the lot has plenty of room for parking. He said he’s envisioning a three-bay station that will be an 80-foot-by-80-foot structure, but the town hasn’t finished designing the facility.

Farmingdale voters approved spending up to $1 million during the annual Town Meeting in June for a new station after voting in favor of the town spending $300,000 for purchasing a new firetruck.

Kilgore said the town’s current fire station on Maine Avenue — next to the town office — has bays that are so small the department must have new trucks custom-made, at additional cost, because standard modern firetrucks don’t fit. The building is so close to the road that firefighters have to step out into the street to stop traffic so the trucks can be backed into the station. The property also is in the flood plain, so the station potentially couldn’t be used during a flood.

During the Town Meeting, some residents said they didn’t like approving funding the new station without even knowing where it will be built. Kilgore said it’s a long process, and unlike Augusta or Hallowell or other municipalities that are bigger than Farmingdale, there’s not a large number of people working on this project.

Kilgore said now that the town owns property that will be used for the fire station, the town will begin the planning and design phase before construction can begin. The fire station should be ready within two years, said Kilgore and Selectman Nancy Frost.

“We’re only going to do this once, and we’re really going to do it right,” Kilgore said.

The town warrant in June estimated the total cost of the fire station, including interest, would be $1,605,900.

Farmingdale officials were hoping to offset some of the yearly cost by using an annual fee from Hallowell as part of a lease agreement at the new station. However, Hallowell decided to keep its own Fire Department and started construction on a new station, using more than a $1 million from an anonymous donor.

In Hallowell, after a 13-month process by the Fire Services Committee and the City Council, councilors voted in January to continue to maintain a volunteer fire department and pursue an agreement to lease space in a yet-to-be-built station in Farmingdale. Hallowell resident and Augusta city attorney Stephen Langsdorf then circulated a petition that forced the council to either nullify its decision or put the question to the voters in a special election. Once the anonymous donor came forward, the council decided to save the Hallowell Fire Department and build a new station at Stevens Commons. That station is expected to be finished by April.

Last year, residents in Farmingdale approved spending up to $300,000 on a new firetruck. Kilgore said the fire department took possession of the truck a few weeks ago and said it came out “really nice.” The truck it replaced was 25 years old, and Kilgore hopes this one is in service for at least the same amount of time.

Fire Chief Dana Mealey said in June that anybody who stops by the department’s station can see how bad it is. He said he thinks the town can get a new station built for less than $1 million, depending on the amenities and size of the structure.

Selectman James Grant said in June that he wants to keep the cost of the new station under $1 million so that Farmingdale’s taxes won’t increase too much. He said he still thinks the town won’t need to spend all the money voters approved in June, which should alleviate the concerns residents have expressed about their taxes.

Farmingdale is one of several central Maine municipalities that has invested money into fire protection services. Augusta opened a new $4.3 million fire station on Leighton Road in June and is spending about $6 million on renovations and expansion of its Hartford Fire Station headquarters. Winthrop is building a new $1.8 million station on U.S. Route 202, and there is a $350,000 station near completion on Route 194 in East Pittston.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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