Randy Chang of The Maine Painting Co. in West Gardiner mixes floor sealant Wednesday at 46 Front St. in downtown Waterville. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — The City Council is expected to begin meeting in October at 46 Front St., a building the city is leasing monthly, with an option to buy within three years.

The spacious interior of the building has a large room for council and other meetings, an open common area inside the front door that could be used as a warming and cooling center or whatever else the city decides. The building also has four smaller rooms and three bathrooms accessible to those who are handicapped.

“It will be available for community use also,” City Manager Bryan Kaenrath said.

The city has for the past few years been leasing space for $1,500 a month in the basement of The Elm at 21 College Ave., while searching for a permanent space to hold City Council, Planning Board and other meetings. The lease runs out at the end of September.

City officials have also discussed the need for a warming and cooling center that could double as space for community gatherings, and the Front Street location could serve those purposes.

After considering several locations, Waterville officials decided 46 Front St. was the best location available. It is all on one floor and accessible to City Hall, the rest of the downtown area and the RiverWalk at Head of Falls. It also required the least amount of renovation work. The use of 22 parking spaces is included in the lease.


The City Council voted June 21 to spend $100,000 from American Rescue Plan Act funding to renovate the building, which is owned by 46 Front St. LLC of Scarborough. The city will pay $3,000 a month to lease 6,000 square feet of the building, with a gradual increase in the cost, topping off at $6,700 a month.

A purchase option is built into the lease, which gives the city the opportunity to buy the building within three years for $1.5 million. People’s Salon & Spa leases 3,000 square feet of the building, which borders Temple Street.

The building housed Waterville District Court years ago and was then home to the Social Security Administration and then Skills Inc., which provides support services for those with disabilities.

Most of the renovation work has been done by the city’s Public Works and Parks & Recreation departments, according to Kaenrath and Assistant City Manager Bill Post.

The City Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month, and Kaenrath said the goal is to meet Oct. 3 at the new location, but it might not be ready for meetings until Oct. 17.

“We are on track as of right now to have the work completed by then,” Kaenrath said.


During a tour of the building last week, Post said some walls have been moved, flooring redone and walls painted light gray. As one enters the main doors off Front Street, the 1,700-square-foot council chamber is located to the left. Part of the chamber is to be carpeted, but the rest of the room and building are expected to remain polished concrete, Post said.

New LED lighting has been installed to improve energy efficiency, he said, and the building’s front doors are to be replaced. Double doors to the council chambers are also to be installed.

Four rooms to the back of the building also are being renovated, with a 308-square-foot conference room is to be used for executive sessions and other purposes and a 224-square-foot room for storage of electrical equipment and extra tables and chairs.

Officials have yet to decide how a 368-square-foot room and another 308-square-foot room are to be used, according to Post. He said public meetings or workshops are planned so residents can help decide uses for the space.

“We wanted to wait until the building was occupied by the city,” Post said, “so that when people come to meetings, they’ll be able to see the spaces.”

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