Dexter Town Council votes to accept school buildings

Posted March 12, 2010, at 7:37 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:03 p.m.

DEXTER, Maine — The Dexter Town Council voted unanimously Thursday to accept the Dexter Primary-Middle Schools buildings when SAD 46 vacates them later this summer.

Town officials already have one proposal for the use of the buildings, but will send out requests for proposals to see whether there is any other interest in the buildings and property, Town Manager Dave Pearson said Friday.

Several people attended Thursday’s meeting to speak about the property. Pearson said some suggested the town subdivide the property since there is about 800 to 1,000 feet of frontage on Lake Wassookeag.

Pearson said the problem with that idea is the slope is so steep behind the school to the water that nothing can be built on it. In addition, the slope is zoned resource protection, which prohibits septic systems. The town has a 350-foot shoreland zone setback, so Pearson said someone could build behind the zone on the hill but would not be able to use the lake frontage.

Tim Wilson, who is involved with the Seeds of Peace International Camp and attended Thursday’s meeting, had pitched a proposal to the council earlier this year for use of the property. Wilson said he would like to develop a leadership institute that could employ up to 100 people using private funds. He envisions converting the elementary school into classrooms for a leadership institute for the sons and daughters of world leaders and other top students and adults from throughout the United States and the world.

He also envisions demolishing the connected middle school so a dormitory could be constructed to serve both those enrolled in the leadership institute and students who would stay on campus and attend local schools. Wilson said the institute would provide its own police protection.

The schools have some environmental issues, including the presence of asbestos, mold, lack of insulation and roof problems, Pearson said.

The council liked Wilson’s proposal, but has to wait to see whether there are any other proposals before it can take any action, Pearson said.

The council also on Thursday was told that residents Ruth Fogg and Ron Apel wanted to donate a windmill to the town and install it at no cost to the town. The couple would like to place the windmill at the skating rink, a visible place that would show people the town is taking a lead in alternative energy. The couple told the council they already have ordered the windmill.

Pearson said some people on Thursday expressed displeasure about the proposed location of the windmill. A public hearing will be held on the proposal on April 8, and the council may act on the proposed gift later that meeting, he said.

“It’s a very nice offer,” Pearson said.

In other action, a proposed ordinance that would allow the use of the boat ramp off Route 23 until such time the lake had a level of 433.5 feet will be on next month’s agenda. When the lake reaches that level, the ramp would be closed, according to the proposed ordinance.

The Town Council voted Thursday to ban swimming at the boat ramp and the accompanying Harold J. Keyte picnic area for safety reasons. That move came after a public hearing.

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