DEXTER, Maine — The Dexter Town Council authorized the town manager Thursday to contract with a marketing firm for the sale of the former school property after waiting weeks for resident Tim Wilson to present a formal proposal for its reuse.
Wilson, who is affiliated with the Seeds of Peace, had expressed an interest to the council last year in leasing the property and converting the former Dexter Primary and Middle Schools into a nonprofit leadership institute for the children of world leaders and other top students. Despite his interest, Wilson never submitted a formal lease proposal.
Wilson said last month that he was still interested in the idea. He said he had commitments for the program money but needed funds for the operation and maintenance before he submitted a formal proposal.
“We’re at a point in time where we need to look at marketing that middle school property,” Town Manager Dave Pearson said Thursday.
Having waited longer than it anticipated for Wilson’s proposal, the council last month authorized Pearson to solicit proposals from Realtors. Letters were sent to 31 Realtors who specialize in marketing school properties. The only interested party was a representative of Better Homes & Garden Town & Country, who offered a one-year exclusive listing with a 10 percent commission on the sale, Pearson said Thursday. The Realtor estimated the value of the property, which has frontage on Lake Wassookeag and is on town water and sewer, at $785,000.
There was some discussion about whether the company would get a commission if Wilson came forward with his proposal, but Pearson said that issue would be ironed out in the contract with the Realtor.
“I have the greatest respect for Mr. Wilson both for what he’s done for Dexter and what he’s done for Seeds of Peace, but business is business. He’s had ample opportunity,” resident Fred Banks said Thursday.
The council on Thursday authorized Pearson to draw up a contract with the Realtor and have it ready to be signed during an upcoming budget workshop.
In another property matter, the council reviewed a proposal from the Dexter Fish & Game Club to lease the town’s campground property on Lake Wassookeag for three years. Action on the proposal will be taken next month.
The club leased the property last year and the town received $350 from the operation.
Under the current proposal, the club wants to run electricity to the campground and have exclusive use of the bath house for the campers only. The town would be responsible for the mowing and garbage collection and would receive 10 percent of the revenue, capped at $1,000. The club also would like the town to turn the water in the bath house on in the spring and off in the fall.
The restricted use of the bath house, which would prohibit use by beach-goers, raised concern Thursday. “I don’t want this to become an us versus them — the campers and the kids in town,”’ council member Rick Goodwin said.
Resident Joel Costonis, who had proposed leasing and developing a year-round campground on the property in 2003, said Thursday that under the deed, public access cannot be restricted on any part of the property, including the bath house, unless it is out of order.
In an unrelated matter, the council voted to transfer $10,000 from the Energy Committee Feasibility Study to the town’s legal fund. The town has already overspent its $7,000 legal account by $1,096.