AUGUSTA — The old Cony Pride building — once a fire station and later a gathering spot for Cony High School students — is not currently in what appears to be a prideful condition.

A review of the structural integrity of the vacant building commissioned by the city earlier this year determined it is in poor condition and would need to be structurally stabilized to be put back into use.

Stabilizing the 26-foot wide building, which sits on a roughly 26-foot-wide lot, would cost an estimated $132,000. That includes the expense of framing and foundation repairs, a new roof, and removal of debris and hazardous materials.

Demolishing the 111 Cony St. building, meanwhile, would likely cost about $30,000, and would leave the city with a 26-foot-by-98-foot vacant lot.

City councilors, at their 6:30 p.m. meeting Thursday, are scheduled to discuss what, if anything, to do with the building, including potentially seeking proposals from anyone who might want to purchase the building and either repair or demolish it.

“It’s in very rough condition,” City Manager William Bridgeo said of the building. He said he’s looking to hear from city councilors whether the city should seek to sell the building, tear it down or take other action.

Because the building is more than 50 years old, any owner, including the city, would have to have the city’s Historic Preservation Commission review the building’s potential historical significance. If the building is deemed historically significant, the process could trigger a 90-day demolition delay. After that time period, the owner could demolish the building.

Matt Nazar, city development director, said the Historic Preservation Commission did an initial, but not a full, review, and officials anticipate if someone wants to demolish the building it would likely require a demolition delay and full review by the commission. Nazar said a full review hasn’t been done because there is no current proposal to demolish the structure. He said the demolition delay requirement would also apply to the city, not just to a private owner.

Nazar said the city has owned the property since 1866, when it was deeded to the city from the Lithgow and Baker families.

While it is unclear when the brick building was built on the site, city assessing records indicate it was constructed around 1900.

The building was initially a fire station and later used by Cony High School as a gathering place for student clubs and activities. After a new Cony High School was built off Pierce Drive it went vacant.

Bridgeo said neighbors to the site have expressed concern about its condition and appearance.

He also said the owner of an abutting property, local businessman Gary Violette, has expressed interest in potentially buying the lot, demolishing the building and the house on his abutting lot, and building a new apartment building on the combined lot. Bridgeo said Violette was going to work with an engineer to determine whether such a project could be built in a way to comply with the city’s land use standards.

Bridgeo said if the city were to sell the property, it would require the new owner to do something with the building, either fix it up or demolish it, within a certain amount of time so the property doesn’t remain in disrepair.

Councilors, who meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center, are also scheduled to:

• Discuss updating an ordinance regarding the Lithgow Library Board of Trustees, some language of which dates back to 1881 when the board was first established;

• Discuss the city’s new medical marijuana licensing process, in anticipation of proposals approved by the Planning Board recently coming to the City Council for review as soon as next week;

• Discuss a Planning Board recommendation to rezone an area encompassing 28 Water St. and 4 Northern Ave. from the High Density Residential to Kennebec Business District and;

• Hear from a group of Maple Street neighborhood residents who petitioned the city seeking to have the speed limit on the street lowered and speed bumps added. They also want the city to commit to using tax funds generated by a new Augusta Housing Authority apartment complex under construction on the street toward building a new entrance road bypassing Maple Street.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

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.