WATERVILLE — The former Sacred Heart Church property on Pleasant and Middle streets is once again under consideration for use, this time by Ware-Butler Building Supply.

The City Council on Tuesday is scheduled to consider referring to the Planning Board for public hearing and recommendation a request by Ware-Butler to rezone 5 Middle St. and part of 72 Pleasant St. from Residential-B to Contract Zoned District/Commercial-A.

The council meeting will be at 7 p.m. at The Elm at 21 College Ave. Those wanting to attend the meeting remotely may do so via a link on the city’s website.

The former Sacred Heart Church at 72 Pleasant St. in Waterville is shown last year. Ware-Butler Building Supply is seeking to rezone land near the church. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel file

Ware-Butler proposes to expand the existing office building at the former church and store building materials on the adjacent parking lot off Middle Street. Ware-Butler is located at 14 North St., near the office building and parking lot.

The Planning Board would only make a recommendation about rezoning to the council, which has the final say on rezoning matters.

Mayor Jay Coelho said Monday that he understood Ware-Butler has the former church property under contract.


“They’re buying the church and the rectory,” he said. “I don’t know what they’re going to do with it.”

Contacted Monday, Scott Wellman, chief financial officer for Ware-Butler, said the rezoning application before the council is to rezone only the office building and the lower part of the parking lot.

“We are not changing any of the zoning for the church structure or the rectory currently,” Wellman said in an email.

He said that, as the company has been growing, it has run out of office space and employees are in several different locations.

“With the purchase of the church property, we plan to move all our corporate and office employees into one location using the existing office building with an addition,” Wellman said. “The location is perfect for us because it is adjacent to the first Ware-Butler location. Once we get the rezoning of the office building, we will look to find the best use for the church and rectory buildings. We value a strong relationship with both the citizens and city of Waterville and will continue to be a great neighbor and member of the community.”

A prior request to use the church property came from Jennifer Bergeron and her partners in the business BACAS, who wanted to have it rezoned so they could buy it and open an event center there. After many meetings with the Planning Board and council and a lot of opposition by neighbors, Bergeron withdrew her request in August.


The Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen in the basement of the church closed in 2020. The soup kitchen operated separately from the church and paid monthly rent. The church was founded in 1908 and had not held weekend Masses since 2006.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland announced in March 2020 that Corpus Christi Parish planned to put the church building, parsonage and rectory on the market.

In other matters Tuesday, the council will consider awarding a $275,355 contract to Freightliner of Maine for a dual recycling-refuse packer truck to supplement the city’s current dual packer truck.

Funding for the truck would come from a 2021 general obligation bond. The truck would arrive in about a year and allow the city to collect trash and recycling on a four-day weekly schedule.

The city in 2018 bought a similar dual packer truck from Freightliner for $218,236. City officials at the time said having the truck, which collected both household trash and recycling at the same time, would allow residents to put recyclables at the curb every week instead of every other week.

That truck has been out of service on and off for repairs over the years, prompting workers to have to throw both trash and recycling in the same truck.


Coelho said Monday that it is important the city purchase the second packer truck. The truck the city bought in 2018 employed fairly new technology at the time and it took time to work the bugs out, according to Coelho.

“The truck works,” he said. “All commercial vehicles go in for service. It’s normal.”

The council also will consider authorizing the city manager to use $100,000 of the city’s unassigned balance of the capital reserve account to help fund removal of the failing access ramp to the Waterville Public Library on the Elm Street side of the building. The funds are being requested, because not enough money from bond proceeds was available to complete the library renovation project.

Councilors also will consider approving a $159,000 contract with Nickerson & O’Day Inc. of Brewer to perform construction work on the access ramp.

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