Cumberland seeks buyer for former Whitman house

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CUMBERLAND — The town is seeking a buyer for the house that used to neighbor the Central Fire Station on Tuttle Road.

The 1956 structure, called the Whitman house for original owner Gordon Whitman, was moved earlier this year to the Public Works site on Drowne Road to make room for the fire station expansion.

The town purchased the Whitman house in 1993 with an eye toward the expansion, and used it for sleeping quarters for emergency personnel.

The town has been unsuccessful in relocating the house – a 960-square-foot structure with a to-be-reattached 660-square-foot, two-car garage – onto a town-owned property, Town Manager Bill Shane told the Town Council in a July 19 memo.

Officials had intended to place the house on land the town already owns, and sell the house and property to a new owner. But land the town has available isn’t conducive to such a deal, Assistant Town Manager Chris Bolduc said Tuesday.

“Instead of letting it sit there and go unused, we’re hoping it stays in Cumberland, stays on the tax rolls,” Shane said at the Town Council’s July 24 meeting.

The panel that evening voted 6-1 to accept bids on the house, with a minimum of $25,000.

The new owner would be required to set a foundation, work with Copp Building Movers, and install a septic system and well, Shane said.

“There’s a lot of work to still be done,” he said.

Councilor Bill Stiles, who cast the opposing vote, said, “I’m very disappointed we’re taking this route, because in the process of this new fire station, we had assured a lot of people that this house would be moved in town and put on a piece of town property.”

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

This 1956 house, which neighbored the Central Fire Station in Cumberland before the complex was expanded, is for sale by the town, which is requiring a minimum bid of $25,000.

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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.