HALLOWELL — The Planning Board approved a proposal to relocate the historic Dummer House, the latest step in a process that began several years ago in order to create additional parking options for people in downtown Hallowell.

Moving the house, currently at 4 Dummers Lane, will pave the way for the city to construct the new, 30-space gravel parking lot on the property ahead of the start of the Water Street reconstruction project in April. The Maine Department of Transportation is set to begin reconstructing a 2,000-foot stretch of the busy corridor — also known as U.S. Route 201 — early next year.

Aaron Sturgis, of Preservation Timber Framing, represented Bean and said the house is “extraordinary” and worth preserving. He said it won’t be difficult to move, and the move, once it begins, should be completed in 20 to 30 days.

Sturgis said he was given assurances Wednesday by the excavator he hired that despite the frozen ground and snow, the house can still be moved.

There is no exterior work or renovations planned at this point, Code Enforcement Officer Doug Ide said, but Sturgis said there will eventually be restorative work completed on the house.

“The building will be spun 180 degrees so the façade will be facing Second Street,” Ide said. “Other than that, it’ll look exactly as it does right now, for the time being.”

According to a Memorandum of Understanding with the city, Bean, the granddaughter of L.L. Bean’s founder, has agreed 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.

If an agreement with the city is finalized, 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.

City Manager Nate Rudy said the city’s main goal is still to make sure the project gets completed in time to build a parking lot on the Dummer House’s lot. The lack of ample parking on and near downtown Hallowell has been something residents and business owners have lamented for years, and Rudy said a 30-space gravel lot is all the city could afford. The work will be funded using the $300,000 voters approved in April as part of a $2.36 million bond package.

Bean acquired the house and restored it in the 1960s, and she plans to relocate the structure to a parcel on the corner of Central and Second streets. The city had discussed including the Dr. Hubbard House museum as part of the Dummer House transaction, but at its last meeting, the City Council decided to handle the future of the Hubbard museum separately.

There has been discussion about the Dummer House becoming a museum, and Bean said if this deal happens, the Hubbard would be a second museum space for the historical collections that many in Hallowell and around Maine could offer.

For several decades, the Hubbard Museum has housed artifacts and mementos from the life of John Hubbard, a doctor and the 22nd governor of Maine. The Hubbard museum’s previous owner donated the items in the museum to the Maine State Museum, and it was discovered recently that mold has damaged much of the collection. Currently, the Hubbard is only open for a few hours one day a year — Old Hallowell Day in July.

The agreement with the city for the Hubbard house stipulates that Bean would have to maintain the Hubbard museum at the same level or better than the city currently does, and Rudy said there’s no reason to think Bean isn’t up to the task. Rudy said the city spends about $1,100 to maintain the Hubbard each year, so it would save that money if the responsibility became Bean’s.

Nathaniel Dummer was a veteran of the American Revolution and one of Hallowell’s early civic leaders. He served as the town’s first postmaster from 1794-1802 and was a judge on the Court of Common Pleas in Kennebec County. He died in Hallowell in 1815 at age 60.

In other business, the Planning Board approved applications by Mike and Shannon Collins to replace windows, siding and doors, and repair brick chimneys and foundation at their property on Second Street; and by Laflin and Wolfington Realty to install an attached storage shed at its property on Water Street.

The Planning Board will hold its regular December meeting Dec. 20. An agenda has not yet been posted on the city’s website.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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