Thomaston voters to decide on YMCA enticements

Posted April 26, 2012, at 6:47 p.m.

THOMASTON, Maine — Town officials hope residents attending the June town meeting will support two articles aimed at attracting the YMCA, and thus homeowners and retailers, to the center of the community.

One part of the plan calls for selling a land lot at the former Maine State Prison property to the Penobscot Bay YMCA for $1. The second article calls for the town to spend $25,000 to match donations for a capital campaign to help the YMCA build and operate a facility at the Thomaston site.

The town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, at the American Legion Hall. The two articles are part of a 49-article draft town meeting warrant. The Board of Selectmen is expected to complete the warrant by May 14.

Town Manager Valmore Blastow said Wednesday the $25,000 would come from an established economic development fund.

“We believe there is tremendous economic development potential for the town from the development of this site,” Blastow said.

The property is within a 16-acre parcel called Thomaston Green. The town acquired the property from the state in December 2005 for $285,000 after the state prison closed in 2002 and later was demolished.

The town developed a master plan for the property after a series of public meetings. Residents approved the master plan at the June 2008 town meeting by 398-129. Part of that plan called for a YMCA.

The Pen Bay YMCA sent a letter to the town in May 2011 saying it would not pursue the project at that time. The YMCA cited the current poor state of the economy and the expectation that raising up to $3 million for the project might not be successful.

Blastow said the town hopes the actions being proposed for the June town meeting will encourage the YMCA to restart efforts at a satellite facility.

A telephone message was left Thursday morning with Pen Bay YMCA Executive Director Troy Curtis.

The Penobscot Bay YMCA has its complex in Rockport near the Camden town line.

Earlier this month, the Central Maine YMCA of Damariscotta announced it was willing to establish a satellite YMCA facility in the former A.D. Gray School in Waldoboro. Waldoboro is two towns south of Thomaston and about the same distance from Thomaston as Thomaston is to the YMCA in Rockport.

The establishment of a YMCA facility at Thomaston Green would attract homeowners, Blastow said.

Thomaston is negotiating with Tom Ross of Broad Cove Builders for the sale of a 2-acre parcel within Thomaston Green for construction of 10 cottagelike houses of about 900 to 1,000 square feet each.

On Monday, the town also awarded a contract of about $232,000 to McGee Construction of West Gardiner to build the roads, sewer and water lines to serve the property. The bid was part of a larger bid for a sewer upgrade to the Brooklyn Heights part of town. The Thomaston Green portion will go forward only if an agreement is reached with Broad Cove and it decides to go forward with constructing the homes.

The deadline on deciding whether to go forward with McGee’s work on Thomaston Green is Aug. 8.

The town has gone before its planning board about dividing up the property into eight lots which would consist of retail shops and the YMCA on Route 1, the 10 homes in the middle of the property with the road leading off Wadsworth Street, and a park.

The two YMCA-related articles are part of a 49-article draft town meeting warrant.

The proposed 2012-2013 municipal budget for Thomaston is $2,759,543, about 1 percent more than the current budget.

The budget includes $433,950 for the public works department, up about 3 percent. The Police Department budget is proposed at $292,263, up about 3 percent. The general government budget is $349,424, also up about 3 percent. Health insurance totals $306,000, another 3 percent increase. The transfer station budget is $202,000, down 4 percent. The Fire Department budget is $97,037, up 2 percent.

RSU 13 board Chairman Gregory Hamlin is uncontested for the single open seat on the Thomaston Board of Selectmen. He would succeed Paul Chamberlin who did not seek re-election.

There are no candidates for the RSU 13 seat being vacated by Hamlin.

Fred Wigglesworth is uncontested for a single assessor seat.

The deadline for candidates to file is April 27. The election is Tuesday, June 12, with polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the American Legion building.

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