MILO, Maine — One of the last pieces of privately owned land in the burned-out downtown section will be the subject of a special town meeting next week.
Residents will be asked to approve the purchase of the former Milo True Value property, which is less than an acre, at a cost of $48,250. The special town meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, in the Town Hall.
No local funds will be used for the purchase since the town received a $500,000 grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. Those funds are earmarked for the redevelopment and marketing of the downtown, which was destroyed in a Sept. 14, 2008, arson fire. The fire destroyed five buildings and damaged another building.
“Getting control over that downtown area is imperative for us to do further development,” Milo Town Manager Jeff Gahagan said Wednesday. If residents approve the purchase, it will give the town control over the entire area and its redevelopment, he said.
Gahagan said town officials are not sure whether residents want to see the property developed or keep it as green space. “But this is part of the process. If we don’t get control of that, we could end up [with] who knows what down there,” he said.
The town already has purchased the lots where the former Milo theater, the Spot Game Room and the Hobnobber’s Pub operated, according to Gahagan. Hobnobber’s Pub has been relocated to the former Arnold building. The owner of the Milo House of Pizza, whose building was heavily damaged but has since been remodeled, purchased the lot owned by the former Milo Flower Shop and it’s unknown what the owner’s intentions are, Gahagan said.