May 27, 2018
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Blue Hill hospital says it won’t raze residential buildings it bought this summer

By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff

BLUE HILL, Maine — Residents worried about the future of two village properties recently purchased by Blue Hill Memorial Hospital will be happy to know the hospital has announced it will not tear down the historic buildings.

The hospital should be able to reach its facility objectives without touching the buildings at 18 and 24 Parker Point Road. The hospital bought the two properties this summer, and soon after got an earful from residents concerned the hospital might destroy the buildings.

“We believe we can make the campus footprint, along with some of the land located behind the Parker Point Road homes, work for redevelopment, renovation and expansion,” said Greg Roraff, the hospital’s president and CEO, in a news release.

The hospital also announced it would create a “Neighborhood Advisory Committee” to act as a liaison between the hospital’s board of trustees and the community. The hospital will seek out Blue Hill residents to serve on the committee before having its first meeting in late October.

Roraff said in an interview Tuesday that the committee will be appointed by the board, but stressed that it will include people who have voiced opposition to the hospital’s purchases.

“It will not be loaded with all pro-BHMH people,” he said. “The cross-section will be people who have supported this project and people who have shown objection.”

BHMH purchased the buildings for an undisclosed amount, but the properties have a combined assessed value of about $1.05 million and occupy about 1.1 acres. Roraff said the two lots offered the expansion opportunities that are sorely needed because there isn’t much more room to grow within the hospital’s existing perimeter.

The property at 18 Parker Point Road is functional and recently remodeled, he said, and would likely not require dramatic work. The building at 24 Parker Point Road, formerly the Leighton Gallery, is in a state of disrepair.

There still is no solid plan for the two properties, a fact that has so far left residents worried about the future of the neighborhood. Many residents said they feared the hospital’s plans would include tearing down or altering the properties, which they said would hurt Blue Hill’s small-village aesthetic. They also were upset the hospital bought expansion properties in the town’s residential area.

Sally Mills, a Blue Hill resident and hospital trustee, said BHMH is sensitive to residents’ concerns.

“We recognize that the village community is a particularly important stakeholder in this process,” she said in the release. “We want the committee to consider specific topics that affect the village and give feedback to the board.”

Roraff said the Neighborhood Advisory Committee’s first task will be to identify potential uses for the buildings. Those options are myriad, he said, and could include sale, rehabilitation or any number of possible scenarios.

“I don’t know what all the options all might be,” he said Tuesday. “But if we ask that committee, that neighborhood committee, we may get an option we hadn’t thought of. … We intend to take the questions that have arisen and take them to the committee to be vetted.”

Roraff said the committee’s list of appointees would likely be announced soon.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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