AUGUSTA — The Augusta Housing Authority is eyeing a city-owned park for its next housing development.

Authority Executive Director Amanda Olson has asked city officials to consider transferring a slightly more than 6-acre city-owned lot on Gage Street, currently home to a little-used city park, to the housing authority so it can build 35 to 40 units of family rental housing there.

The housing authority in recent years has developed 47 units of senior housing in the former Hodgkins middle school building and is currently having 29 units of rental housing, targeted at working people, built on on Maple Street.

But despite those additions to the housing market, Olson said in a letter to City Manager William Bridgeo, Augusta remains well short of an adequate supply of affordable housing.

She said MaineHousing data compiled this year indicates 449 more units of affordable housing are needed for families living in Augusta than are currently available.

“The sad news is despite our good work, the need for safe affordable housing continues to grow as replenishment of housing stock has failed to keep pace with the need,” Olson said. “Our steady effort has made only a tiny dent in the demand that exists for those currently living in Augusta.”


City councilors are scheduled to discuss the proposal at their meeting Thursday night.

This photo, taken Tuesday, shows the lot between Gage and Glendon streets in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

The city-maintained site, known as Macomber Park, sees only infrequent use, according to Bridgeo and Olson.

“We don’t see much activity down there,” Bridgeo said of the site Tuesday.

Olson said the site has appeared to be under-utilized during her entire 40 years living in Augusta, only rarely drawing users.

She said Tuesday the site could provide space for 35 to 40 units of family housing, with a mix of bedroom counts per unit.

“The site is well suited for family housing due to its close proximity to the rail trail, YMCA, parks and downtown,” she wrote in her letter to the city. “Although the site is challenging due to a number of sewer lines running through the site, we are confident that development is possible at this location. Gage Street represents an opportunity for the city to bring life to a site that isn’t being used, realize its goal of supporting high-quality development and make possible the creation of new rental housing for families.”


The 6.24 acre property is assessed by the city at $119,800.

The grassy park, with a gravel U-shaped driveway lined by boulders, has a basketball court on its back corner and an empty paved area where the city’s skatepark was once located, until a new skatepark was built on Bangor Street.

Bartlett said the housing authority is asking the city to transfer the property to the authority, not sell it, but said they would also be open to a long-term lease for the property, as was done with the city-owned properties where the authority has housing developments now at Hodgkins and on Maple Street. Both of those leases, as well as a lease of the former Cony flatiron building to another developer when that building was also converted to senior housing, include only token yearly payments from the developers to the city, for 50 years.

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

• Discuss a recommendation from the Planning Board to contract zone a parcel at 2459 North Belfast Ave. to help allow a proposed all-terrain vehicle sales and repair business.

• Discuss a recommendation from the Planning Board to modify the definition of Specialized Medical Clinic in the Land Use Ordinance.

• Adopt updated General Assistance maximum reimbursement rates.

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