Sanford City Council voted on Tuesday to buy 922 Main St., which it intends to demolish to expand adjacent Central Park. The sale closing took place Wednesday morning. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

SANFORD – The city of Sanford has purchased the land and building at 922 Main St. and plans to tear it down to expand Central Park.

On Tuesday, Sanford City Councilors voted to spend up to $150,000 to execute the purchase-and-sale agreement, with little comment.

The decision to pursue the purchase was voted on following a City Council executive session in March.

The city plans to bond the purchase over 10 years, said Sanford Treasurer Paula Simpson on Wednesday. The bond will be repaid with proceeds from the Route 109 TIF, portions of which were designated for improvements to the city’s downtown. She estimated the city would pay $18,500 annually for the 10 year life of the bond from the TIF account.

The bonding  had the blessing of the Sanford Budget Committee, whose five members present voted unanimously in favor of the proposal following a public hearing.

Community Development Director Ian Houseal estimated it would cost $25,000 to demolish the building, and said that the city would seek funds elsewhere to tear the building down.

Sanford property records show the building and .17 acre lot, assessed at $155,600, has been owned by Robert W. Schwell since 1984.

The brick veneer fronted  building itself dates to 1830. The building has been mixed use, with commercial or office space on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floor.

According to Houseal, the council had authorized the city to bid a maximum of $150,000 at auction for both 922 and 924 Main Street, the latter which was also owned by Schwell. But 924 Main St. was purchased by a Limerick buyer. Houseal said he believes that it is the intention of the new owner to continue to rent two residential units on the second floor and open an ice cream store on the ground floor.

Houseal said the acquisition will expand the land area of Central Park by about 22 percent.

The six members of the City Council present approved the purchase in a unanimous vote. Mayor Thomas Cote was absent.

The closing took place on Wednesday morning.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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