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Brunswick council negotiates with owners for new police station property

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Brunswick council negotiates with owners for new police station property

BRUNSWICK — After halting discussions about a new police station during budget deliberations, the Town Council has resumed negotiations with owners of property eyed for the estimated $6.65 million facility.

Town Manager Gary Brown confirmed that the council met Monday with Paul Clark of Morton Real Estate to discuss prices with several property owners.

Brown would not disclose what he described as the council's primary location, adding that a second site that's already been made public – at the southeast corner of Stanwood and Pleasant Street – is still in the mix.

Last year the Brunswick Development Corp. spent $215,000 to purchase an abandoned warehouse on Weymouth Street. Brown would not say if that site is being considered for the police station.

The BDC was established by the council in 1995 to borrow money to build the Brunswick Technologies building, which it eventually sold. It has been managing the revenues from that sale ever since, last year spending $215,000 for the Weymouth Street property, as well as $220,000 for the visitors center at Maine Street Station.

At the time, town officials described the Weymouth Street purchase as a potential extension for Maine Street Station, specifically for additional parking, which planners anticipate the project will need as it builds out.

Brown said that the potential police station location would be announced if the council and property owners could agree on a price. If the town is able to secure options on the properties, he said, the location will be discussed in a public meeting, probably in early July.

According to council Chairwoman Joanne King, the public will have ample opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of the location. 

"We're trying to be sensitive to the neighbors who might be affected by the location," King said. "Once we announce, there will be a huge public process. If the public doesn't like it, then we'll move on. We're not married to anything right now."

The renewed momentum for the police station comes three months after the council announced it was delaying property acquisition for the facility until the late fall. At the time, the council had met several times in executive session with property owners. But a difficult budget season, which required laying off several town employees, prompted councilors to delay the process. 

"We're trying to be sensitive to the times we're in," King said in April. "But we absolutely plan to move forward even if we do so a little more slowly. ... In spite of our hardship, I still hear people saying they want us to build a new police station."

When the council discussed its 2010 goals on June 7, several councilors expressed a willingness to get the police station project moving.

"This is definitely at the top of the priority list," King said. "There's broad support to do this and it's a project the entire council can get behind."

The project was included in the council's 2011-2012 Capital Improvement Program. King has previously expressed hope that the police station can be built for less than that cost.

A new station would replace the Police Department's subterranean headquarters on Federal Street.

The project has been discussed for several years.

In 2004, the town purchased the old Times Record building on Industry Road for $1.3 million with the intent of converting it into a police station. The project was deemed too costly, both in 2004 and last year, when the council's police station search subcommittee gave it a second look.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net

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