WATERVILLE — The Planning Board on Monday will consider a request to recommend to the City Council that it rezone a church property on Eustis Parkway to allow for the Children’s Discovery Museum to locate there from Augusta.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Chace Community Forum at the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons at 150 Main St.

The Discovery Museum is seeking to move to the First Congregational United Church of Christ at 7 Eustis Parkway and is requesting the property be rezoned from Residential-B to Contract Zoned District/Commercial-A.

The proposed condition of the contract is that the only permitted uses of the property would be a children’s museum, day-care center and the existing church.

The City Council on Nov. 27 voted 5-0 to refer to the Planning Board for a public hearing and recommendation the museum’s request to rezone the church property.

The museum, now located at 171 Capitol St. in Augusta, wants to lease space in the church, with plans to eventually buy it, according to Amarinda Keys, the museum’s executive director.

The Planning Board will make a recommendation to the council concerning rezoning and the council will make the final decision. The council is the only entity with authority to make zone changes.

The museum, whose website says its interactive exhibits and hands-on programs ignite curiosity and celebrate learning through play, had planned to lease the American Legion hall on College Avenue, but earlier this year backed off that idea.

The church’s pastor, Mark Wilson, said recently that the church hopes to lease space to the museum for a year or two and then sell the entire building to the museum. He said the 14,000-square-foot church, which has 125 members, would look for another space if the lease and ultimate purchase of the church is feasible.

He said church members love the building but realize that if the church stays there it would be in an unsustainable situation

Keys has said she is not sure when the museum, which has been in existence 26 years, would move to the church from its current, 4,000-square-foot home in Augusta. The museum has a lot of work to do and a lot of money to raise, she said.

Museum officials announced in December last year that the museum planned to move to the former American Legion hall, tripling the amount of space it has in Augusta. The legion hall is about 10,000 square feet in size.

But Keys said recently that the legion hall “didn’t feel like a good fit for what we wanted” and that ownership is important to the museum.

The church on Eustis Parkway was built in 1966, but before that, it was on Temple Street for 160 years, behind where the current Colby College residential complex is now, according to Wilson. He said some current church members also attended the Temple Street church, which was demolished as part of urban renewal efforts many years ago. He said church officials plan to keep the church, which has been in the city 190 years, in Waterville, and they hope to find a spot closer to the heart of the city.

In other matters Monday, the Planning Board will consider a request from Central Maine Power Co. to review, under the city zoning ordinance’s shoreland zoning rules, a proposal to build a second 115 kV transmission line across Messalonskee Stream, from Quarry Road to County Road.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.