Thomaston voters approve selling former state prison properties

Posted Sept. 11, 2012, at 10:17 p.m.

THOMASTON, Maine — Voters overwhelmingly gave support Tuesday night to the development of the former Maine State Prison property.

At a special town meeting held at Watts Hall, residents approved allowing the town to proceed with building roads, sewer and water lines into the property known as Thomaston Green. Voters had previously authorized the work but it had been contingent on someone having first purchased lots.

The article approved Tuesday night allows the $250,000 infrastructure project to go forward even though no lots have been sold.

The vote was 24-3 to go ahead with the work.

By the same vote, residents agreed to authorize selectmen to sell four lots in Thomaston Green that abut Route 1 that would be reserved for commercial development. Residents also voted to allow selectmen to sell two lots to the rear of Thomaston Green that would be developed as residential units.

One of the people voting against the articles was resident Art Henry.

“The town shouldn’t be in the real estate market,” Henry said.

The two rear lots — both 2 acres — could be developed into a total of 25 house lots, said John Fancy who is the town’s pollution control superintendent.

The town had been in negotiations with Tom Ross of Broad Cove Builders to develop the rear part of property into house lots but no agreement was reached.

The six lots that residents gave selectmen authority to sell are part of the 16 acres purchased by the town from the state in December 2005 for $285,000. The state prison closed in 2002 and was later demolished.

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.

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