Former church offered to Thomaston for municipal offices

Thomaston selectmen will consider Monday night, Sept. 10, 2012 whether to authorize a preliminary architectural review of the St. James Catholic Church to determine if it could be used as municipal offices.
Thomaston selectmen will consider Monday night, Sept. 10, 2012 whether to authorize a preliminary architectural review of the St. James Catholic Church to determine if it could be used as municipal offices. Buy Photo
Posted Sept. 10, 2012, at 12:51 p.m.

THOMASTON, Maine — A former church is being offered to the town for possible use as municipal offices.

The Select Board will discuss the matter at its meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the town office.

The town has been considering options for a new location for municipal offices for several years in order to free up valuable downtown commercial property now occupied by the town administration and the police department.

The town was contacted in May by the St. Brendan the Navigator Parish to determine whether Thomaston wanted to purchase the St. James Catholic Church building that is adjacent to the town-owned Thomaston Academy building.

Town Manager Valmore Blastow said selectmen toured the property on June 14.

An item on the Monday night agenda indicates selectmen will discuss whether to hire an architect to do a preliminary review of the church-owned building.

The building has not been used for two to three years, the town manager said.

He said church officials informed the town that the church received an estimated value of $500,000 for the building from a real estate broker.

The town undertook a study in 2007 on options for municipal space. A preliminary report in October 2009 determined that the town should have 3,000 to 4,000 square feet of space for its town office compared to the 2,500 it has on the street level of the town-owned Watts Hall.

Options have included relocating into the Thomaston Academy building which houses the library as well as several commercial tenants. The town also had discussions with the owner of the adjacent Knox Hotel about constructing municipal office space in back of Watts Hall.

The town manager said the common theme of each of the options has been to free up the space that the municipal offices now use so that it could become commercial space. The town would continue to own the upper floor to preserve that as a public meeting hall, Blastow said.

Blastow said another consideration for all the options has been to minimize costs.

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