Lincoln residents to vote on new garage

Posted Feb. 25, 2011, at 8:17 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — Town voters will decide Tuesday whether the town should build a $1.15 million public works garage to replace a dilapidated Park Avenue facility.

The second referendum held on the subject, Tuesday’s vote will put town leaders in an awkward position should voters reject building the new garage, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said Friday.

“The issues with the garage aren’t going to go away,” Goodwin said Friday. “If the garage is turned down, the issues at the garage will still need to be dealt with. Either we deal with the deficiencies at the old garage or we will build new, and if we don’t build new, it would end up costing us more to fix up an old building.”

Voters narrowly rejected replacing the old garage for $675,000 in a November 2008 referendum. The vote was 1,175 to 1,117. At the time, the town’s facility on Park Avenue had a leaky roof and was deemed insufficiently insulated, inadequate and unsafe.

A group of taxpayers, including some of the town’s most prominent business owners, rejected a $2.4 million proposed garage design in October. They complained of the cost, saying that town taxes already were too high for the services offered and that a garage simply shouldn’t cost that much.

The design was scaled back twice since then. It now features an 8,025-square-foot building with three bays that could hold six vehicles and six rooms, including an office, lunchroom, two bathrooms and storage and building utilities areas.

Public Works Department officials said the latest design is adequate for meeting town needs, but the garage would need to be expanded if the state opts to make maintenance of Lincoln’s state roads a town responsibility or if the town’s population expands significantly.

If residents approve the project, construction can begin in the spring. If not, another referendum likely will be held in November to restart deliberations.

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