The Bowdoinham Recycling Barn has housed the town’s recycling program for three decades. The Times Record

The Bowdoinham Recycling Barn will open its doors for an open house June 4 to showcase upgrades aimed at preserving the building after years of uncertainty about its future.

Owner David Berry said residents can expect “an inside look at structural and functional improvements, the new and improved gift shop, and how source-separated materials are handled and stored to reduce contamination and program costs.”

The 60-year-old structure has served as the base for Bowdoinham’s recycling program for 30 years. In the fall of 2020, the Bowdoinham Select Board moved recycling operations from the barn to the public works department because of structural concerns town officials had about the building.

“For a smoother loading dock and enhanced bale storage, we have replaced the concrete floor of the entire east end, as well as the foundation and walls,” Berry said. “We have nearly completed interior sheathing of the south wall, upgrading both fire safety and structural integrity. Numerous fire safety improvements have been made, such as rehanging of doors for faster egress. The roof has had significant work done, and more is in the works for this summer.

“The Fire Marshal’s office concluded there were corrections to be made, including stair railings, re-hanging some fire doors, a review of the fire alarm, and several minor violations. The railings and fire doors have been addressed and the other items will be soon,” added Berry.

In June 2020, the Bowdoinham town fire marshal identified 29 violations at the recycling structure. The following year, Bowdoinham’s code enforcement officer, Darren Carey, informed Berry in a letter that no one from the public should enter the building until the second and third floor structures were strengthened.


Berry responded by hiring his own structural engineer, Helen Watts, to assess the property, and her findings differed from Carey’s.

Watts told Carey in an email last year that improvement priorities included the east end wall, strengthening the floors for an occupied apartment on the third floor, the sheathing to the south wall and the improvements to the roof’s framing. However, Watts noted that the floors were safe for the general public in both the gift shop and recycling barn, as long as the areas weren’t overloaded.

“While this building has some ongoing maintenance and repair needs, common in any 60-year-old commercial building. This building is neither hazardous nor dangerous,” Watts wrote in a 2021 letter to Berry.

Bowdoinham resident Lisa Wesel said Berry has spent the past year making repairs to the structure.

“This open house is relevant because residents will be voting at the June town meeting on whether they would prefer to stick with the new single-stream program or lease the barn again, as the town has done for decades, and continue separating material,” said Wesel.

The open house will occur on Saturday, June 4 from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Bowdoinham Recycling Barn, located at 243 Post Rd.

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