DEXTER, Maine — Seven contractors interested in the renovation of Fossa General Store in Dexter recently participated in a walk-through of the building.
Bids for the renovation work will be awarded on June 8 and work is expected to begin soon after to convert the downtown building into a year-round general and farm store. The project is being developed by the Dexter Regional Development Corp. in coordination with the town.
The store will sell locally grown, locally produced food and other items and will include a commercial kitchen where farmers can make some products from their crops.
“We’re trying to create an old-new economy,” Judy Craig, DRDC’s executive director, and farm project coordinator said Friday. “We hope to be a destination.”
The corporation received a $230,000 Community Development Block Grant for the project, which is being matched locally with $50,000 from the corporation, but more funds are needed, Craig said.
“We expect the project will cost over $300,000,” Craig said Friday. She said more grants are being sought for the work.
Volunteers have worked three days to gut the inside of the building. In addition, Charleston Correctional Facility inmates conducted some work inside the building and two participants in the ASPIRE program are working to remove wallboards and ceilings, according to Craig.
In addition to volunteer work, donations have been coming in for the project, such as shelves and display cases, Craig said. Yoder Lumber of Exeter gave the corporation a good deal on white cedar for a 12-foot-by-77-foot deck, she said. The deck will be used for sales and small concerts. “The deck is going to be a showstop-per,” she said.
The donations and volunteer labor “just makes your heart swell,” Craig said. She is being assisted in the project by Roger Brawn, DRDC president. She said Brawn has donated a large amount of time to the project.
In addition, more than 20 farmers have expressed an interest in the project and are helping the process along, Craig said. Those farmers are from as far away as St. Albans and Dover-Foxcroft and in between, she noted.
Meetings to discuss the project are held at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month in the Town Council chambers in Dexter. The public is invited to attend these meetings.