Kennebunkport is looking for an architectural and engineering firm to design a new municipal building. The current town office, at 6 Elm St., is out of space, municipal officials say. Tammy Wells photo

KENNEBUNKPORT – Residents and visitors who drop by the town office at 6 Elm St. to do business have likely noticed that space is at a premium.

The building, which began its life as a combined town office and fire station in the late-1950s, is about 3,723 square feet, property records show. In all, 13 employees work there, said Town Manager Laurie Smith.

The town has outgrown the space, and there isn’t much room to serve the public who drop by to talk to planners, pay tax bills, or conduct other business.

Now, the town is beginning the process of finding a solution to the space crunch with a request for proposals for engineering and architectural services for a new municipal building.

The next step, once design and engineering is complete, would be to seek approval of the electorate.

“We would then need to go back to the voters with a cost estimate to gain approval for construction,” said Smith. “Our hope would be to complete construction in 2025; however, with everything between the construction industry and economic conditions playing a role, we will see.”


An assessment of space needs completed in 2019 shows the current departments housed within the town offices would need a little less than 10,000 square feet for current needs and future growth, including a public meeting space. Currently, public meetings and elections are conducted at the Village Fire Station at 32 North St. According to the request for proposals, the town anticipates the 2019 assessment would likely need updating.

The preferred location for a proposed new Kennebunkport municipal building is part of the Village Parcel, which was purchased by the town in 2018. The town is currently looking for architectural and engineering services, a preliminary step in the process. Tammy Wells photo

The selected firm, with the assistance of staff and input from the public, would analyze the town-owned site at the Village Parcel, also on North Street, to determine layout and location, as well as the conceptual design and architectural elements, according to the request for proposals.

Smith said a corner of the Village Parcel is the preferred location, and noted that other sites were examined as part of the initial programming and space analysis conducted in 2019.

The town is also looking for a building that speaks to the importance of climate change and the need to encompass the concepts of net zero design and construction, the RFP notes.

Smith has asked for proposals by Aug. 19, with a view to selecting a firm sometime in September.

The town purchased the 87-acre Village Parcel, which runs from North Street to School Street, for $10 million through a referendum vote in 2018, with a view to a variety of uses, including municipal services. Prior owners had planned a housing subdivision there.

Prior to the current town office and former fire station, built in the late-1950s, a 40-foot by 80-foot town hall, designed by artist Abbott Graves, was built in 1902 by Octavious Hutchins. It was located next to the Drown house (later Wink’s Store) at Town House Corners, according to research conducted by Sharon Cummins for Kennebunkport Historical Society. The price at that time $2,569.84, Cummins said. When North Kennebunkport broke off from Kennebunkport in 1916, Kennebunkport town offices were moved to the second floor of the fire station of the day. The town continued to use the 1902 town hall for meetings until 1952, when the new Consolidated School could accommodate crowds.

The old 1902 town hall was purchased by private concerns, dismantled and moved to 32 North St., where it was used as a 500-seat theater venue and later as St. Martha Church. It was purchased by the town in 1997 Cummins said, and demolished to make way for the new Village Fire Station and municipal parking lot. Municipal records show the fire station was built in 2002.

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