PORTLAND — The city is soliciting construction bids for much-debated new fire boat crew quarters planned for the Maine State Pier.

The plan to build new quarters for firefighters assigned to the waterfront drew criticism from some city councilors and the public earlier this year because of the estimated $1.8 million price tag. About $1.3 million in funding for the quarters was taken out of the capital improvements budget approved in October (the remainder of funding had been previously approved).

At that time, the council instructed Fire Chief Fred LaMontagne to look at less-expensive alternatives.

City Spokeswoman Nicole Clegg this week said asking for bids on the quarters originally proposed inside the Casco Bay Garage was part of LaMontagne’s research into alternatives, to see if the $1.8 million quote was still accurate.

“This is just to see if those costs … still hold up,” Clegg said.

The bid notice makes clear that the project has to be approved by the council before a contract is awarded.

Firms hoping to bid on the project were told to attend a 10 a.m. meeting Dec. 16 at the pier.

Clegg said LaMontagne continues to look at other alternatives, including leasing space on another pier or using the old fire boat for quarters.

One of those rental properties is on Maine Wharf, located next to the Maine State Pier.

The current fire boat crew quarters are inside the garage and consist of a windowless, 400-square-foot space that has mold problems.

Clegg said LaMontagne will report back to the council with his findings in January. The bids for the crew quarters are scheduled to be opened Jan. 6.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or [email protected]





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