June 20, 2018
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Thomaston to vote on sale of lots at former prison site

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

THOMASTON, Maine — Selectmen formally set the warrant Monday night for a special town meeting Tuesday, Sept. 11, that will give the board authority to sell six parcels of the former Maine State Prison property.

The town had been negotiating for several months with Tom Ross of Broad Cove Builders who was considering building 10 cottagelike houses on a section in the rear of the property set aside for residential development.

Ross, however, has dropped his plans, according to John Fancy, who has been working on the subdivision planning for the town. Fancy is the town’s pollution control superintendent. He said that while no reason was given, the housing market has not recovered sufficiently yet and one of the requirements the town had been expecting of Ross was to build at least two houses each year.

One article to be voted on at the Sept. 11 town meeting asks voters to authorize the selectmen to negotiate the sale of six lots at or near the appraised value at a minimum. The sale also must comply with the master plan for the former prison property.

The six lots are part of the 16 acres the town purchased from the state in December 2005 for $285,000. The state prison closed in 2002 and was later demolished.

Two of the lots will each be about 2 acres and are reserved for residential development. The other four lots to be sold are along Route 1 and are designated for commercial or retail development. The commercial/retail lots combined amount to less than 2 acres.

At the June annual town meeting, residents agreed to allow the town to entice the Penobscot Bay YMCA by offering it another former prison lot on Route 1 for $1. A little more than a half-acre has been set aside for the YMCA if it decides to establish a facility there.

The remainder of the property — about half of the overall former prison parcel — will be kept by the town for a park, roads and parking.

Another article on the Sept. 11 warrant would ask voter approval for the town to have roads, sewer and water lines built on the 16 acres known now as Thomaston Green. Voters had already approved borrowing $250,000 for the project.

Fancy noted that this item is on the special meeting warrant because the company that would do the work — McGee Construction of Gardiner — is already in town doing sewer work on nearby Brooklyn Heights in Thomaston.

The special town meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Watts Hall auditorium.

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