North Yarmouth may vote in early 2017 on Wescustogo Hall plan

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The design and location of a new Wescustogo Hall could go to voters early next year.

The Board of Selectmen in July voted 3-1 in support of a nonbinding resolution to rebuild Wescustogo Hall, a centerpiece of the community destroyed by fire in August 2013.

Since then, town officials and the Wescustogo Hall Building & Design Committee have been working with Barrett Made, a Portland construction architect, on two reconstruction plans.

One would place the structure at its original U.S. Route 115 Village Green site, and the other at the former North Yarmouth Memorial School property on U.S. Route 9.

Selectmen may decide in the coming weeks to send either one or both plans to a special Town Meeting vote in January or February, Town Manager Rosemary Roy said in an interview Nov. 22.

With some tweaks made in recent weeks, “it’s really becoming part of what everybody’s looking for, the two designs,” Roy said, adding that estimated costs for the two options will be available soon.

Barrett Made’s first public presentation of both plans to the Board of Selectmen is scheduled for Dec. 20. The board may decide Jan. 3, 2017, whether to send one or both options to voters, and to schedule a public hearing and special Town Meeting.

“We’re hoping to bond the project through the Maine Municipal Bond Bank,” Roy said, noting that about $600,000 in insurance proceeds from the original Grange is also available to put toward the replacement.

The deadline is Feb. 15 for a spring bond, Roy said.

If Wescustogo is built at its original location, the neighboring Village Green would be consumed to provide expanded parking, Roy said. The gazebo that stands on the green would have to be moved.

A bridge that spans about 70 feet over Toddy Brook ravine between the old Wescustogo site and Town Hall, for which voters approved funding before Wescustogo’s destruction, would also be back on the table.

If built at the NYMS site, the new Wescustogo would be erected just south of the renovated stage, gym and kitchen area of the former school, and connected to the building through a lobby. The new building would face U.S. Route 9.

Both options are approximately the same size and geared to accommodate 300 people, Roy said.

She strongly encouraged public feedback as the two options are developed, noting that “now is the time we start really trying to spark peoples’ interest.”

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

A rendition by the Barrett Made construction company shows how a new Wescustogo Hall could appear at its original U.S. Route 115 site.

One of two plans rendered by Barrett Made shows a new Wescustogo Hall at the former North Yarmouth Memorial School property. While parts of the school building would be demolished, the gym, stage and kitchen spaces would be preserved and renovated, as shown at left. The new Wescustogo would be built on an adjacent space, facing U.S. Route 9, and connected to the school through a lobby.

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.