Milbridge voters to weigh in on town office, library plans

Posted Jan. 24, 2012, at 1:44 p.m.

MILBRIDGE, Maine — The Milbridge selectmen have submitted a letter of intent in an effort to win a $258,000 Community Development Block Grant to help fund what’s now proposed as a $587,000 building that would house the town office and the community’s library.

Town Manager Lewis Pinkham said Tuesday the town’s library board will provide up to $65,000 for the required 25 percent matching fund payment. Also under consideration, he said, is the town borrowing $220,000 for the project, refinancing existing loans and tapping into a building reserve fund for as much as $35,000.

Milbridge now houses its town offices, police department and ambulance service in a circa-1900 building that was once the town’s high school. The building is shared with the library, which is shoehorned into an addition built more than 50 years ago.

A proposed new, one-story, 4,800-square-foot building would set aside 1,400 square feet of space for the library.

A special annual meeting is now scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13. A location has yet to be determined, Pinkham said. “It’s a meeting to determine how the voters feel about the project,” he said.

Opponents of the project want to preserve the existing town office building, which once was used as a school, as well as the adjacent town hall building.

In an informal survey conducted last fall, 50 respondents said they favored demolishing both existing buildings and replacing them with a new building and more parking. That compared with 49 others who weighed in against that approach. Seventy-four percent of those surveyed want to see the town office and library stay combined, while 81 percent favor having the town continue to provide facilities for ambulance service.