HAMPDEN, Maine — With SAD 22 and Hampden school officials in attendance, Hampden town councilors voted 5-1 Monday night to sign a sale agreement with the district for the old Hampden Academy property.
Councilors also authorized town staff and officials to move forward with plans for a new $800,000 shorefront marina park featuring a parking lot, public bathroom facilities, a dock, and a canoe/kayak launch.
The academy deal, which originally involved a land swap and $86,000 paid to SAD 22 — Hampden, Winterport and Newburgh — by the town has now become a property swap. The town will receive the 23-acre tract of land occupied by the old academy and athletic facilities for a town-owned, 65-acre piece of land adjacent to the campus of the new academy.
“It’s basically a land swap,” said Councilor and Mayor Janet Hughes, who outlined the deal and explained why the $86,000 cash consideration was removed from terms of the deal. “We did find a few surprises at the school that we didn’t anticipate.”
Hughes was referring to higher-than-expected cleanup costs for asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs — toxic, organic pollutants — in some old building materials present in nonpublic areas of the old building such as the boiler rooms.
The increased cleanup costs were found through an environmental survey and evaluation of the site conducted by Credere Associates of Westbrook.
Rick Lyons, SAD 22 superintendent, assured councilors terms of the sale were satisfactory and that only finer points of language in one session of the sale agreement needed to be edited. The vote authorizes Town Manager Sue Lessard to sign the agreement on the town’s behalf Wednesday morning. The next step will be sale closing.
Noting that the next phase of Hampden’s 8.5 acre park will be a process lasting three to six months, Councilor Tom Brann said the council had to give officials the go-ahead so money being held in reserve could be used. Most of the funds in reserve come from a $520,000 payment to Hampden by Chevron as part of a remediation payment to the Maine DEP for oil leaking from company-owned oil tanks into the Penobscot River for 20 years.
“Those funds have a time limit on them, so we want to be able to move this along so that funding won’t expire before the park gets built,” said Brann.
Councilors voted 5-1 to approve proceeding with implementation of the marina plan.
Councilor Kristen Hornbrook cast the lone dissenting vote on both the academy sale and marina plan agenda items.