WATERVILLE — Councilors voted 6-0 Tuesday to award a $282,809 contract to a company to oversee the $11.2 million BUILD grant construction project to convert Main and Front streets downtown to two-way along with other improvements.

The Waterville City Council also voted unanimously to appoint business owner Uria Pelletier to the Planning Board and bade farewell to Mayor Nick Isgro.

Isgro appointed Pelletier, owner of the construction company Kavestone LLC, to the Planning Board to fill the unexpired term of Cathy Weeks who resigned a few weeks ago. The appointment needed council approval and Councilor Thomas Klepach, D-Ward 3, asked Pelletier to tell the council about himself.

Pelletier said he lives on Silver Street and was born and raised in Waterville. He renovated Waterville House of Pizza and nearby OPA restaurant, and he bought and is working on the old Boys & Girls Club on Main Place. He is currently doing three projects for the Waterville Public Schools system, including building additions to Waterville high and junior high schools and a new special education space.

Pelletier said he thinks the city could use some help planning what direction to take in the next 10, 15 or 20 years.

Klepach asked Pelletier what direction he would like to see the city go in that period of time, a question Isgro apparently thought was too probing.

“This is a little extreme for a Planning Board appointment,” Isgro told Klepach.

But Pelletier said he didn’t mind answering the question and said he’d like to see more done in the South End, where he lived for a time as a child. Though he has limited experience with the Planning Board he is a fast learner, he said.

“I think that the city would value my input,” he said.

Klepach asked further questions and Pelletier answered them. Klepach, referring to  Isgro’s comment, said he was glad Pelletier was present in the virtual meeting, because it is difficult to vote on appointments without knowing about a person.

“I think it’s important that the City Council is voting with full understanding of who they’re voting for,” Klepach said.

Councilor Rebecca Green, D-Ward 4, agreed, saying she appreciated the opportunity to hear Pelletier speak. But Green said she wanted to express concern that there will now be only one woman on the Planning Board, and she hoped Weeks’ position would be filled by a woman.

“In general, I think it’s a good practice to have people on the Planning Board who represent the city as a whole,” Green said.

City Clerk Patti Dubois and Mayor-elect Jay Coelho are interviewing candidates for positions on boards and committees, and the council in January will vote on appointments.

Isgro said that typically not enough people apply for the positions available. The council could have waited to appoint Pelletier in January as his name will be on a list of candidates, but Isgro pointed out that, if appointed Tuesday, he could attend two meetings before the other appointments are made. Meanwhile, Dubois said another Planning Board position could become open in January.

In other matters Tuesday the council voted 5-1 to remove Colby College-owned properties from the existing downtown tax increment financing district, with Councilor Claude Francke, D-Ward 6, dissenting. The council voted 6-0 to postpone a request to create a new TIF district with the properties in it.

The properties to be removed  are 93 Main St., the site of the future Paul J. Schupf Art Center; 9 Main St., where the Lockwood Hotel is located; and 20 Main St., the former Waterville Hardware property and future Arts Collaborative.

While the three properties to be removed from the downtown district are owned by Colby College, the TIF district doesn’t have anything to do with Colby, and Colby will realize no benefit from the city’s actions, according to City Manager Michael Roy.

The council voted 6-0 to award a $282,809 contract to Kleinfelder Construction Services to oversee construction during the 18- to 24-month term of the BUILD grant project. The work is scheduled to begin in March.

The council voted 6-0 to change zoning at 132 North St. to allow a community ice rink to be built there, and 6-0 to approve a land lease with the Alfond Youth and Community Center for the city-owned property where the center would build the rink.

The vote followed a lengthy discussion prompted by Roosevelt Avenue resident Anna Thomas who said she thought a community discussion should be held now to discuss what people want to see happen on that property and to be assured the basketball court will be relocated before the current one is removed. Councilors told Thomas that the Planning Board will be reviewing the project under the site plan review ordinance and many of her concerns may be addressed then.

The council also voted 6-0 to add rules for short-term residential units to the city’s ordinance, and 5-1 to change the ordinance lot size for keeping chickens from 10,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet. Councilor Rick Foss, D-Ward 5, was the lone dissenter. Councilor Mike Morris, D-Ward 1, was absent from the meeting.

In other matters Tuesday, the council voted 6-0 to approve a resolution providing for mutual aid for public works services with the towns of Winslow, Fairfield and Oakland.

Council Chairman Erik Thomas, D-Ward 7, thanked Isgro for his six years of service to the city, including work he did on the BUILD project. Thomas said Isgro did a good job convincing people it was a good idea. Thomas said he knows Isgro will look back on his time as mayor and realize the impact he had on the city. Foss echoed Thomas’ sentiments and thanked Isgro for everything he has done and for what he taught Foss.

Isgro thanked Thomas, Roy and Dubois. He praised Roy, saying “he’s a hell of a guy, and he loves this city, and he loves the people more than most people could have imagined.”

Roy, in turn, said that, though they may have disagreed on issues, he and Isgro were civil to each other. He complimented Isgro on how he ran meetings, including those that were difficult.

“I agree with Erik — your legacy will be the Main Street project,” Roy said.

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