FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to release $15,000 in tax-increment financing funds to Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust so it can buy a former store and dance hall in Madrid Township.

The property at the intersection of Reed’s Mill Road and Route 4 will be used to create the Madrid Gateway turnout.

Madrid Historical Society was approved for a $50,000 TIF grant in September 2018. Subsequently, society members turned the property over to the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust and commissioners agreed to transfer the grant to the organization. TIF funds are being disbursed as drawdowns by the county.

Commissioners negotiated a $10,000 price for the property and with estimated closing costs, prorated taxes and other associated expenses, the cost is about $15,000, County Clerk Julie Magoon said.

The society and trust have been working with the Maine Department of Transportation, which agreed to add money to the contract for reconstruction of Route 4 in Madrid Township, according to an email from Nancy Perlson to Magoon and Charles Woodworth, executive director of the Greater Franklin County Development Council. Route 4 reconstruction is underway.

The TIF was established in 2008 as part of the Kibby Wind Power Project in northern Franklin County to create economic development in the unorganized territories. A committee reviews applications for grants, revolving loans, scholarships and scores them. The recommendations go before commissioners for approval.

The vacant buildings will be torn down to make a scenic byway gateway. The former store blocks a clear view of motorists coming off Reed’s Mill Road to turn onto Route 4.

The Madrid Gateway will be a “great enhancement of the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway and another asset in our regional tourism economy,” according to Perlson’s email. She is a member of the Madrid Historical Society.

The 35.6-mile scenic byway runs from Madrid Township on Route 4 to Byron on Route 17 and encompasses Rangeley Lake and the Height of Land, among other sites.

The Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust has received a quote from M & H Logging in Rangeley for nearly $22,981 for the demolition of the buildings, removal of debris and adding gravel to the site, if needed. The quote is very close to MDOT’s estimate, Perlson wrote in her email.

The buildings are near the Sandy River.

In another TIF matter, commissioners approved a $25,000 scholarship for Alice Cockerham of Freeman Township. She is going to Bates College in Lewiston to study government and political science. The scholarship will be paid in two payments, one for each of two semesters.

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