This visual shows Cumberland’s Public Works garage with the proposed additions of three bays and a break room. A skating pond, basketball courts and a 15-spot public parking lot would also be added to the northwest. Contributed

CUMBERLAND — The Town Council will decide whether to borrow $5 million for several facilities improvements and a vehicle purchase.

A public hearing will be part of a 7 p.m. meeting at Town Hall Monday, July 8, to discuss the 20-year bond, which, with 2.5% interest included, would amount to $6.3 million, Town Manager Bill Shane said in an interview June 19.

Unlike communities where bonds go to referendum, Cumberland’s council has the power to approve bonding. Residents have 30 days from the date of the vote to petition for a referendum to overturn the decision in cases where more than $100,000 would be borrowed or an ordinance has been changed, Shane said.

The largest piece of the borrowing would be $2.85 million for projects at the town’s Drowne Road Public Works garage, which could be complete by the fall of 2021. Those include new town and school mechanic bays, a wash bay and a locker and lunchroom. The funds will also pay to restore the area scheduled to be vacated this year by Cumberland’s compost and brush pads, which will be closed and moved to a town-owned property off Tuttle Road.

New construction would be involved at the garage, whether it is an expansion of the half-century-old facility or a separate neighboring building. A committee that includes Planning Board members will be formed this summer regarding the redevelopment of that site, Shane said.

A 1-acre skating pond would also be created on open space in the rear of the property, with neighboring basketball courts and a restroom building, and a 15-space public parking area.

Although Cumberland and North Yarmouth officials had early this year discussed relocating School Administrative District 51’s fleet of buses from Cumberland’s Public Works garage to North Yarmouth’s, that move may not be happening. North Yarmouth’s Select Board has informally opted against taking on that extra load, although it still plans to add a proper fuel island and wash bay, Town Manager Rosemary Roy said June 20.

Officials from the two towns are due to meet in a workshop Wednesday, June 26, and the North Yarmouth Select Board is due next month to make a formal decision on the matter, Roy added.

“We were fine if they accepted them, or if we’re going to keep them,” Shane said.

The town had planned to relocate all of Public Works in order to make room for further development of the Village Green community. But high levels of methane gas at a closed demolition landfill near the garage led the town to scrap those plans, which prevents additional housing from being built in its place.

“Since the land cannot be redeveloped, we’re trying to utilize it the best we can, and trying to become more of a mechanical maintenance facility than a construction operations center,” Shane said.

Roughly $400,000 of the $2.85 million would also go toward building a new sand and salt shed on property to be acquired by the town at 215 Middle Road, behind Storey Brothers. Those operations are also being removed from the Drowne Road garage.

Other projects

The $5 million bond would include $125,000 to expand the Town Council Chambers. A wall between the chambers and a storage area and the East Conference room would be knocked out to allow for more space during elections and well-attended meetings. The 1,200-square-foot room would be expanded to almost 1,800 and a collapsible wall would stand when the extra space is not needed, Shane said.

“When you look at what a (new) building would cost, or an addition … this is cheap money,” he noted. “… It’s really some demolition, some carpeting and some tiles, and then the (collapsible) wall.”

That project could be complete by next summer.

Cumberland’s proposed Town Council Chambers expansion would include removal of permanent walls between that space and the East Conference Room, shown at right. Collapsible walls would be installed in their place. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

Another $125,000 would go toward a roughly 2,000-square-foot building, to the east of Town Hall on the 290 Tuttle Road lot, which would house the food pantry twice a week and, when not in use, a senior center meeting space. About 40 new parking spaces to facilitate overflow traffic would be created as well.

“Meeting space is at a premium in this building,” Shane said. “We have a lot of meetings here, and it’s tough to fit all the groups that want to meet here. This would certainly take some of the pressure off of that.”

Plus it would allow for more senior programming, he added.

The roughly 900-square-foot food pantry, which serves about 100 families a month, would be relocated from its current headquarters within Town Hall, to space next to the Police Department within Town Hall. The project could be completed by next summer.

With the pantry moving out, the town looks to spend about $400,000 for a reconfiguration and expansion of police offices, and evidence, meeting and work rooms. The work, geared toward creating “a more user-friendly space for the police officers,” could be complete by the fall of 2020, Shane said.

Finally, the bond could include $1.5 million for a new ladder truck, which the manager called the “most-utilized vehicle” in the Fire Department’s fleet. It would replace a 20-year-old model that needs about $50,000 in repairs, and be on the road by January 2021.

“Does it make sense to put $50,000 into a truck that really should be traded out?,” Shane questioned. “The longer we wait, the more expensive this truck gets.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 780-9085 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.


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