BOWDOINHAM

Bowdoinham could be a little closer to finding a home for a new public works facility.

Town Manager William Post said Wednesday that he wants 10 acres near the start of the plow routes to locate a new facility.

The town’s 2005 waterfront development plan also calls for moving the public works facility so the current site can be redeveloped as recreation space.

In 2011, a task force examined the town’s public works facility and the Recycling Barn it leases. As a result, in 2012 residents indicated that the town should purchase and renovate the Recycling Barn.

The town entered negotiations with Recycling Barn owner David Berry, who decided not to sell the Post Road property. However, the town has the right to purchase the property before anyone else. The town did make several improvements to the building, making it safer and more efficient.

The current public works facility is located off Route 24 on the banks of the Cathance River and belonged to Central Chemical Corp. It was purchased by the town in 1998 for $120,000 as a temporary site. The town uses an old warehouse for its public works garage, which Post said is in terrible condition.

The small salt storage building is collapsing, he said. The winter sand and salt pile sits on a concrete pad that needs replacing to the tune of $60,000.

The majority of residents at the 2012 informational meeting wanted the town to find a new location for a public works facility. Post has looked at five or six locations in town, trying to find a site within two miles of the village center.

“You have to have a property that is big enough to hold the buildings, the equipment, the piles of sand, the piles of gravel, work areas, fuel tanks — that sort of thing,” Post said, speaking at Wednesday’s public informational meeting.

Through the process, Post has ruled out every property that’s come along, including the existing site.

“At this point we do have one property that looks promising,” Post said. “I’m hoping that within a month or two, that we’ll be able to come back to an informational meeting and say here’s the property.”

It’s up to Town Meeting voters to approve the purchase of the land, and there must be enough money in the undesignated fund balance to cover the cost. Town Meeting voters may also be asked to fund some of the engineering costs.

The town would later need to ask to borrow money to construct the new facility.

The facility’s size has yet to be determined, Post said, “but because we’ve been investing quite a bit of money in new equipment for the public works department over the last several years, the idea is that we will store the equipment inside a building instead of having it sitting outside.”

Currently, there is only one heated garage bay and the large trucks don’t fit in it. Other than a pickup truck, the equipment sits outside.

Post said a new garage would be heated and allow for vehicle storage and deicing. He envisions storage space, a kitchen, office space, upgraded bathrooms and possibly a locker room and shower. There would be a storage for the town’s sand and salt piles.

The site has served the town well, Post said.

Selectman Tom Walling said that is thanks to the dedication of the public works crew that has served the town well, with their willingness to work in bad conditions.

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