HALLOWELL — The City Council voted to authorize the city manager to complete negotiations for the relocation of the historic Dummer House, which would clear land to be used for a much-needed municipal parking lot.

Six councilors voted in favor of the proposal. Councilor Lisa Harvey-McPherson voted against the plan.

“I cannot support asking the taxpayers to pay for a gravel parking pit,” she said.

According to the agreement, Linda Bean, the granddaughter of L.L. Bean’s founder and the owner of the Dummer House and adjacent land bordered by Second and Central streets, 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.

The work will be funded using the $300,000 voters approved last April as part of a $2.36 million bond package.

The final proposal will go before the Planning Board on March 21 and to the council in April. Rudy said the new municipal parking lot — which would be built on the Dummer House’s footprint — would be completed by Old Hallowell Day in mid-July.

“It has taken a very long time,” City Manager Nate Rudy said.

Rudy said there will be some “nips and tucks” to the plan based on final negotiations will all of the involved parties, but he said the deal-making is reaching the home stretch. The current design calls for a 22-space gravel parking lot, and there are other spots next to an adjacent building that the city would own.

Harvey-McPherson said she voted against the plan because $14,000 per parking spot was more than she’s comfortable asking the Hallowell taxpayer to pay. However, Hallowell voters overwhelmingly approved the bond package that included $300,000 for this parking lot and any costs related to its construction.

Rudy said most of Dummers Lane — a small alley between two buildings on Water Street — would be absorbed into the parking lot design. He said he envisions installing signage highlighting the historical spaces on Second Street, including the Dummer House, Dr. Hubbard House museum and fire station.

The other end of Dummers Lane, in the alley, would be traded to the owner of the buildings on each side — Liberal Cup owner Geoff Houghton — in exchange for land he owns behind those buildings as the city wants to maximize the space needed for the new municipal parking lot.

Rudy said Houghton is planning on converting the alley space into an outdoor patio for the Liberal Cup or his other establishment, the Maine House lounge.

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, which Bean acquired and first restored it in the 1960s.

“The first phase of the parking lot would be a gravel lot,” Rudy said. He said he’d be open to exploring the possibility of eventually paving the lot, but it would be expensive, so he is looking at other ways to fund that project in the future.

Rudy and Bean’s representatives have been negotiating this deal for almost a year, and Rudy had hoped the city parking lot would be completed before the Maine Department of Transportation begins reconstructing a 2,000-foot stretch of Water Street in early April. But it is a complex deal, Rudy said, and the negotiations and associated legal work has taken longer than expected.

Councilor Maureen Aucoin supported the plan, but she said it was unfortunate that the city wasn’t further along in the process so that the lot would be ready before the road construction project begins.

“I’m concerned this may cause further traffic impact during reconstruction,” Aucoin said.

The lack of ample parking near downtown Hallowell has been something residents and business owners have lamented for years, and Rudy said there will be additional parking at the Upper Public Utilities Commission lot. The DOT also suggested placing gravel down on top of the railroad trail near Second Street, which would add almost 20 more parking spots.

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

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.

The Planning Board’s review of the proposal begins at 7 p.m. March 21 at City Hall.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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