This building at 73 Winthrop St. in Augusta is the newest addition to Kennebec County’s portfolio of properties on the street. The structure, purchased with American Rescue Plan Act funds, will house the Sheriff’s Department administrative offices. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — Kennebec County government is expanding its real estate footprint with the purchase of a Winthrop Street building to house the administrative offices of the Kennebec Sheriff’s Office.

At the Kennebec County commissioners’ final meeting of the year, they completed the deal for 73 Winthrop St., which has been the headquarters of the Maine Primary Care Association for 21 years. The county’s allotment of American Rescue Plan Act funds will be used for the $435,000 purchase.

“This solves a lot of our long-term problems,” Commissioner George Jabar said, citing the lack of space for the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office and chronic water problems in the basement of the historic Hill House at 125 State St.

Sheriff Ken Mason said the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office has occupied the first floor of Hill House for at least four decades.

“I’m really grateful to the commissioners for this,” Mason said. “They did what they had to do. The environment was not good, and we had the ability to do it and it’s the perfect time.”

The new space almost doubles the space now occupied by the Sheriff’s Office; the Kennebec County jail administrative offices will remain at the jail.


Mason said five of the department’s employees had been working in the basement, but they have been relocated to the first floor conference room until the administrative operations move.

Commissioners met on the matter last week, and finalized the transaction at their meeting Tuesday.

The Maine Primary Care Association, which advocates for Maine’s community health centers, did not immediately return requests for comment.

Scott Ferguson, county administrator, said officials considered how the building would be paid for, including using money set aside for capital reserves. In the end, they determined that it could be paid for by ARPA funds.

Ferguson said the building is in good shape but some work will be required to adapt it for the Sheriff’s Office, including connecting the building to the county’s fiber network and installing bulletproof glass for the foyer. Much of the work can be done by county staff, he said.

The property is located in Augusta’s West Side Professional Zoning District. City Planner Betsy Poulin said administrative offices are allowed as a conditional use in that district, and that requires Planning Board review. She said that’s expected to happen in the first part of 2023.

The building is a near twin to 77 Winthrop St., which county officials bought for $575,000 in 2016 to house the Registry of Deeds. The county had previously leased space at One Weston Center for the Registry of Deeds after it outgrew the space it occupied on the ground floor of the Kennebec County Courthouse.

County officials considered several options for a permanent home for the Registry of Deeds, including the former Augusta District Court building, but none panned out. When 77 Winthrop St. was listed for sale, county officials bought it and relocated the deeds office. The building now also houses the county’s Emergency Management Agency.

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