The Bowdoinham Recycling Barn has housed the town’s recycling program for three decades. The Times Record

Not knowing the total cost of either project, Bowdoinham residents voted to lease the Recycling Barn instead of building a new public works structure, at a June 15 town meeting.

The Select Board had voted 4-1 against leasing the barn, but residents voted 131-116 in favor of using the 60-year-old structure.

“The article generated the most discussion at the meeting, and it is a pretty consequential decision for the voters to make, particularly because they went against the recommendation of the Select Board and did what the people wanted,” Bowdoinham resident Lisa Wesel wrote in an e-mail.

Going forward with leasing the Recycling Barn means town officials will need to hire an engineer to complete design work and cost estimates. Once a design is chosen, the project will be put out to bid.

After that, the town needs to appropriate the necessary funds to complete the project, according to Bowdoinham’s town website.

Town officials received two proposals in 2021 concerning the costs of rehab design, engineering and environmental services for both the recycling barn and the public works building, according to a town report.

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Consulting firm Barton & Loguidice proposed the cost of rehab design, engineering and environmental services would be $67,000 for the Recycle Barn.

Pine Tree Engineering proposed the cost of rehab design, engineering and environmental services would be $38,000 for the public works building.

These proposals do not calculate the total cost of each project, nor how it will affect Bowdoinham taxpayers.

“We do not have any of those numbers at this time,” said Bowdoinham Town Manager Nicole Briand. “The Select Board had wanted to complete both of the studies to obtain that information last year, unfortunately that was unable to happen.  The board was unable to get town meeting approval to study the Pond Road option and Mr. Berry did not approve the barn study last year.  We will be working to complete the study for the Recycling Barn this year.”

Prior to 2020, the town had leased the barn for 30 years, until the Select Board moved recycling operations to the public works department because of structural concerns made by the town fire marshal.

Last month, Recycle Barn owner David Berry said his building will soon be good to go.

“The Fire Marshal’s office concluded there were corrections to be made, including stair railings, re-hanging some fire doors, a review of the fire alarm, and several minor violations,” Berry said. “The railings and fire doors have been addressed and the other items will be soon.”

Berry hosted an open house for Bowdoinham residents at the Recycle Barn on June 4, showcasing structural updates and changes he had made.

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