Hallowell voters cast ballots Tuesday at Hall-Dale Elementary School in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

HALLOWELL — Residents came out Tuesday and showed strong support for a pair of nonbinding questions about renovating the city’s old fire station and acquiring space for a new public works facility.

Because the questions were both nonbinding, the city is not obligated to take specific actions based on the results.

The fire station, which is nearly 200 years old, has been considered as a location for the new police station since 2018.

The referendum question asked voters if they would support renovating the building so the police station could be moved to the middle floor, the food pantry could remain in the basement but with more space, and a community meeting or museum space could utilize most of the upper floor.

According to unofficial results Tuesday night, 1,106 residents voted in favor while 423 were opposed.

City officials estimated the project would cost between $4 million and $5 million. While the original estimate given to the city by architects in June 2021 was $3.2 million, City Manager Gary Lamb said the final costs may be higher due to inflation and other uncertainties within the construction industry.


The public works question asked if voters would support acquiring land for a new multi-bay public works facility for an estimated $2 million to $3 million dollars.

The public works land acquisition was supported by 1,073 voters while 441 were opposed, according to the unofficial results.

A sign directs Hallowell voters into the polling place Tuesday during Election Day at Hall-Dale Elementary School in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The project consists of a new facility with multiple bays for snowplows, a shop area, a small office area, a lunch/break room, bathroom with a shower, and a storage area for signs. The facility would include in-floor heat, roof solar panels and heat pumps.

If it decides to move forward with the land acquisition, the city would sell its current Water Street facility to offset construction costs.

Hallowell recently held a summit with town officials in Farmingdale and Manchester, which included discussion about sharing public works resources and possibly building a new station in one of the three communities.

Officials agreed that the results of the referendum question would impact the future of the new facility, with both Lamb and Doug Ide, chairperson of the Manchester select board, agreeing that they could consider a scalable facility if the question passed.

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