MILBRIDGE, Maine — An unseasonable stretch of mild and dry weather is greasing the wheels on construction of a new town office facility in the Washington County community of Milbridge.
“The weather has helped a lot,” said Shawn Beers, the on-site supervisor for the new building being stick built by Coastal Builders of Trenton. “There’s been only one or two days when we couldn’t work down here, which is very fortunate this time of year.”
Town Manager Lewis Pinkham said the fair weather allowed the roof to be shingled quickly, which jump-started work on interior walls, plumbing and wiring.
“It looks now, hopefully, that we’ll have it completed by the first week of February,” Pinkham said Tuesday. “The mild weather has helped dramatically.”
The $578,000 project is being funded with the help of a $258,000 Community Development Block Grant provided through the state’s Office of Economic Development. The town is putting up an additional $320,000, with $160,000 coming from a 15-year loan, $65,000 from the library’s endowment fund, $60,000 from surplus funds and $35,000 from a building reserve fund.
The project involves demolition of the circa-1900 existing town office building and an adjacent meeting hall and replacing them with a new structure to house the town office, the police department, the public library and the ambulance service.
The new building will expand the town’s library from a labyrinth of 1,204 square feet to 1,831 square feet of contiguous space, with about 30 percent of the new space being devoted to books and programming for children.
“With the new space we will be able to process the books we have in storage, and we have a lot more books coming,” Milbridge Librarian Melissa Smith-Rapa said Wednesday. “Through a Brownstone Book Fund grant out of New York City we will be receiving 100 new children’s book titles.”
The new library also will provide for better public access to five new laptop and desktop computers acquired through the Maine State Library’s Public Library Information Commons Project, she said.
Smith-Rapa said she has submitted a grant to the Bangor-based Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation to fund new shelving and other library furnishings for the new space.
“If we don’t get the grant, we’ll use what we have,” she said. “But, if we do, it will include bookshelves on wheels, which would allow us to bring books to town meetings off-site.”