Town councilors on Tuesday night officially began the process of annexing land by eminent domain for Amtrak Downeaster parking and a pedestrian walkway.

They signed a condemnation order, which describes the size, location and purpose of the real estate in contention. However, municipal officials say they still hope to reach an amicable agreement with the landowner, Timm Holdings LLC, instead of completing eminent domain.

Amtrak passenger rail service from Boston to Brunswick is scheduled to begin on Nov. 1. The platform is ready, but right now Freeport has no publicly owned space for the passengers to use to get to it.

In theory, the property could be posted for non-train use and Amtrak customers would be trespassers.

The space in question is a reverse Lshaped piece of asphalt parking lot off the corner of Mill and Depot streets. It totals just under 1,200 square feet, enough for a 41-foot-long crosswalk and four short-term parking spaces for passengers to board or disembark from the train. The town’s offer to Timm Holdings LLC for the property is $6,100; if Freeport takes the land by force, Timm Holdings LLC can appeal the amount offered but not the annexation.

At-Large councilor James Hendricks said town manager Dale Olmstead continues to negotiate with the property owner. But, he added, councilors had to sign the order because the town is on a six-week deadline to complete the transfer of ownership.

“We have to be ready,” Hendricks said. “If we don’t have the land issue taken care of, the train doesn’t stop in Freeport.”

“It’s just because the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority has to know everything is ready, because we’re already past their deadline,” said council vice chairwoman Sarah Gideon. “The town manager has worked very hard to reach a far settlement with Mr. Timm, which I believe is going to happen in the next week or so.”

[email protected]

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: