To discuss Wednesday, 1 p.m.

Rockport considers citizen proposal to buy property behind library for construction project

Posted:  Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 11:30am
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With another snowstorm on the horizon, the Rockport Select Board will be meeting at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15, to talk about the proposal by a small group of Rockport citizens to buy property behind the library and donate it to a new library construction and expansion project.

The conversation between the group, now informally referrred to as the “Rockport Library Group” and the Select Board was to take place Wednesday evening, but the prospect of another snowstorm resulted in the meeting’s rescheduling. It will take place at the Rockport Operea House downstairs meeting room and will be streamed live at https://livestream.com/Rockportmaine

The group, which includes Alex Armentrout, Sally Cook, Nick Ruffen, and others, are represented by Camden attorney Paul Gibbons. They have been talking about the possible purchase of 3 Limerock Street, and began negotiating with the property owners, the family of Joanna Scott. 

Just recently, the group signed an option agreement on the property, which was listed for sale at $475,000 and appraised by the town at $442,000.

The house, which is an antique style and built in 1850, sits on a small lot, almost two-tenths of an acre in size.

The purpose of the proposed purchase is to augment the town’s new library project. The group is to give a presentation to the Select Board at the Feb. 15 meeting about the goals and stipulations associated with the purchase.

Currently, Rockport selectmen are talking amongst themselves, as well as with others close to the project about how to move the construction of a new library forward.

The Select Board decided last month that it would analyze the data, research and talk with library staff, planners, architects, contractors, engineers and fundraisers about the pros and cons of building a new library, either on the existing 1 Limerock Street, or at the former Rockport Elementary School property on West Street.

The offer by the citizens’ group is the latest in the ongoing discussion about a new library — where it is located, how much it would cost, and what it would look like. 

The Select Board is aiming to get a proposal before the voters at June Town Meeting.

The board was to talk with the Rockport Library Group Monday evening at its regularly scheduled meeting, but which was cancelled due to a blizzard. 

“It is the only thing that is time sensitive that was on the agenda, because the board is moving forward with trying to make a decision, and if the Scott property is in play, they need to be looking at that, as well,” said Town Manager Rick Bates, on Feb. 14.” If that is actually an option.”

At the same meeting, the Select Board will meet with planners Terry DeWan, Jane Lafleur and Rockport Town Planner Jamie Francomano. They will be talking about the different site options from a community planning perspective.

 

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