Bath council reverses plan for armory corporation

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BATH — The City Council voted 6-2 Wednesday to reverse its previous decision and rescind creation of a corporation to run the former National Guard Armory.

The nonprofit entity – Bath Armory – would have overseen and operated the Old Brunswick Road facility, which is now owned by the city.

The building, following planned improvements, will house the Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark. The Box 19 Club also plans to store antique fire trucks at the armory.

The council discussed bylaws of the proposed corporation at a Jan. 19 workshop, after tabling discussion at a Jan. 4 meeting. The order to rescind the corporation’s creation was also tabled on Jan. 4 until Wednesday’s meeting.

In a last-minute addition to its agenda in December, the City Council voted 5-4 to establish the city-owned corporation to operate the armory. 

Councilor Mari Eosco said Wednesday that she sponsored the measure to reverse the decision because “that vote happened very quickly, and we didn’t have time to think about it and discuss it as a group, with all the information.”

She said the corporation is unnecessary unless the city’s Parks and Recreation Department is unable to run the armory. “We always have that option to pull back and reconsider,” Eosco said.

Roo Dunn of Green Street noted that the armory needs a business plan, “and I think within the structure of city government, the skills and talents already exist, and the management already exists.”

He added that “at the end of the day, the council still has the ultimate control. You control the budget … and through the city manager you control the personnel.”

Councilor Andrew Winglass said the Skatepark board’s bylaws “probably do need to be strengthened, and going forward … they need to be strongly implemented and watched over. … There needs to be a lot more involvement from our end.”

Councilors Ruthe Pagurko and Kyle Rogers opposed the motion to rescind the corporation order.

The council on Wednesday also unanimously approved an ordinance regulating wireless communication facilities.

The language, approved by the Planning Board last November, would generally prohibit cell towers from open spaces and coastal areas. The ban would also apply to downtown areas, unless the towers are completely hidden within structures.

Planning Director Andrew Deci said there are no pending applications before the city for such facilities.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.