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

The Bowdoinham Select Board took its latest step toward returning its recycling services to the Recycling Barn last week, sending a draft lease agreement to the owner of the property.

Barn owner David Berry said he will review the document and propose possible changes before signing.

The town had leased the barn for 30 years, prior to 2020, when the select board voted to move operations to public works facility after officials raised concerns about the safety of the building.

Since then, Berry has been working to address those structural and safety issues so the recycling program could return. Berry said all repair recommendations made by the town fire marshal have been addressed, including new railings, rehanging of doors, a new foundation and a new concrete floor. He said the upgrades cost $30,000 at his own expense.

Town Manager Nicole Briand said the board has proposed a monthly payment of $1,616 to lease the barn, totaling $19,392 for the year.

Berry said originally the town suggested $16,000 a year, but he requested a $3,000 bump to offset the cost of the building repairs he had made. By increasing the rent to $19,392 a year, Berry said this allows the town to reimburse him for the upgrades made at 10% a year over 10 years.


Berry said that other than minor repairs, any upgrades going forward would be at the expense of the town.

Knowing he could make more money with the barn by “renting it out to store boats in,” Berry said his passion for the recycling program he started in the 1980s is more important and he wants to use the barn as a “facility for the town.”

“I’m still trying to improve the program so we can get off to a new start,” said Berry.

Berry said the new lease refers to the barn as a “transfer station,” which drastically differs from the purpose of a recycling center.  He said it could be done, but would require opening another building adjacent to the barn and would be very expensive for the town.

“I doubt the town would want to spend that much money,” said Berry.

Once corrections have been made to the agreement Berry said he hopes to sign a lease with the town by Sept. 27.

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