July 19, 2012

Fayette puts its fire station up for sale

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

FAYETTE -- There's an unusual fire sale going on.

The town is marketing its former fire house for redevelopment and seeking proposals from interested buyers.

Responses to a request for proposals, indicating in particular how the building will be used to enhance the neighborhood and benefit the community, are due Aug. 31.

The former fire station, which is at least a half-century old, is on Route 17 directly across the road from the Fayette Country Store on a quarter-acre.

The one-story, two-bay building with office space is 36 feet wide and 60 feet long, according to Mark Robinson, Fayette's town manager.

It would need some work, no matter what use is intended.

The building lacks running water, and the property currently has no septic system. Robinson said it would be possible to add those necessities, but the Planning Board probably would deal with proposed improvements, given that the property is in the shoreland zone.

On the plus side, the building has a forced hot air heating system and a paved driveway, as well as 55 feet of frontage on Route 17.

"Purchasers should consider their proposed use and how it may fit within the Fayette community, what type of business might complement the area and maintain character at that section of Fayette," Robinson said.

The request for proposals says the winning bidder will be announced no later than Nov. 26.

Selectmen can reject or accept any proposals, Robinson said.

Price is only one of the seven proposal criteria.

"The proposed use might be more attractive than the money," Robinson said. "We're sure people out there have creative ideas about how they could use the building."

Robinson said some potential uses are already being floated.

"There's a definite need in the area for veterinary services," Robinson said. "We have a need for something that would complement, not compete with, the services offered by the Fayette Country Store."

The property was assessed at $41,000, and Robinson calculated that property taxes would have been just under $290 last year. As town-owned property, it was tax-exempt.

In recent years, the site was used by a company that was paving parts of Route 17, and the building has also been used for storage for both town and school purposes, Robinson said.

The replacement three-bay fire station, at 2475 Main St., opened in 2006. It cost about $425,000 to build, and about $250,000 of that came from a Community Development Block Grant, Robinson said.

"I think a lot of people in town want to see somebody buy it so it goes back on the tax rolls," Fayette Fire Chief Marty Maxwell said. "I think the building served the town well back in the older days. When we started getting modern trucks, they started getting too big for the old station."

In order for firefighters to do equipment checks or anything involving hoses, the trucks had to be moved out of the station. "In the new building, you can get up on the truck and stand there. There's plenty of room," he said.

The biggest drawbacks were a lack of running water and a lack of bathroom facilities. "Coming back from a call, you couldn't wash up," Maxwell said.

 

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