People in cars Tuesday wait to pick up students at the end of the school day at Winthrop Grade School. The parking lot beside Maxwell Field, which was not in compliance with federal accessibility requirements, will be paved later in the spring. Town councilors Monday approved bonding the local share of funds needed for the project. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

WINTHROP — The Winthrop Town Council has agreed to bond the money required to cover the costs of repaving the grade school parking lot to comply with federal accessibility requirements.

The unanimous decision means the town will pay $219,885 over five years — with a 0% interest rate — as opposed to allocating the entire sum outright.

The $219,885 the town must pay is part of an arrangement through the Maine Department of Education’s School Revolving Renovation Fund. The school received a $459,589 loan for the paving project, of which the agency agreed to forgive 51.6%, or $234,704. The remaining 48.4%, or $219,885, falls to the town to pay.

Winthrop councilors had previously set aside money for the project, but Superintendent James Hodgkin said construction costs then swelled to $100,000 more than the initial quote. Because of that, Councilors decided Monday night to bond the portion of the loan the town owes and use reserve funds to pay for the increased construction costs.

Councilors unanimously accepted the loan Monday, prior to voting to bond the money over five years with no interest through the Maine Municipal Bond Bank.

The council then took another unanimous vote to to place an additional $110,000 from the town’s undesignated funds to a reserve account to address other school maintenance issues placed in the budget for next year, primarily paving at one of the district’s other schools — Winthrop Middle School.


The Winthrop school district has been attempting to repave the parking lot at Winthrop Grade School for more than a year. Last year, an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint prompted the Maine Department of Education to approve the loan for the project because of the need to comply with federal regulations.

The parking lot was lacking signage to mark handicapped spots — which has since been fixed — and does not have designated accessible parking spots where it needs to. The surface of the pavement also is unsafe and uneven, said Hodgkin.

Monday’s meeting was not broadcast via Zoom, because officials were unable to log into the town’s laptop, according to council Chairperson Sarah Fuller. The abrupt switch from the former town manager to the interim manager resulted in confusion over account access, she said, and nobody at the meeting had the computer’s password.

“There are going to be a few hiccups,” she said of the transition, adding that they should be back on track quickly.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify that the town will use reserve funds to pay for the increased construction costs. 

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