New Winter Harbor town office to be completed by end of May

Posted March 28, 2013, at 5:44 p.m.

WINTER HARBOR, Maine — By sometime this summer, local officials expect to have a new home for the town office, fire department and police station.

The $1.6 million building under construction on School Street is expected to be completed by the end of May, Town Manager Cathy Carruthers said Thursday.

Coastal Maine General Contracting of Machias began construction on the building last September, about seven months after voters authorized the town to spend $1.7 million on the new building. Carruthers said voters approved spending $1 million on the project at the town’s annual town meeting in June 2011 and, after cost projections came in higher than that amount, approved an additional $700,000 for the project at a special town meeting in February 2012. All the costs of the building are being paid with existing investment funds, rather than with property tax revenue, she said.

Carruthers said the new building will have a larger meeting space that will be used for selectmen meetings and by public safety personnel. It also will have a large vault that will help safeguard the town’s records, which date back to the town’s founding in 1895. The current town office, next door at the corner of School Street and Harbor Road, does not have adequately protected storage space, she said.

The town’s police and fire departments will have more room in the new building than they do now, Carruthers said. The police department is confined to what amounts to a large cubicle in the corner of the current selectmen’s meeting room, while the fire department is located in a two-bay building on Main Street. The new building will have four bays for emergency vehicles.

The town manager said town officials do not have a plan for how to use the existing town office after they move next door. The building used to be the town’s high school, she said, so they likely will look to lease it out instead of putting it on the market.

Carruthers said the town expected to schedule an Open House at the new building for sometime this summer.