BRUNSWICK — A busy intersection previously eyed for a fire station and then a Walgreens store is now being considered for a new police station.
Councilor Joanne King, who chairs the town’s police station search subcommittee, confirmed Tuesday that property at the southeast corner of the Stanwood-Pleasant street intersection is on the list of three sites the town is reviewing for a facility to replace the Police Department’s subterranean headquarters on Federal Street.
For the past two months, the council has been meeting in executive session to discuss potential sites for the station, which has been allotted $6.65 million in the town’s Capital Improvement Program.
King, who said the council is hoping to spend less than that, said the council has instructed Town Manager Gary Brown to begin discussing potential land acquisitions with property owners and to draft a comparison of each site.
King declined to identify the other two sites, adding that she wasn’t sure if property owners had been contacted. Property owners in the Stanwood-Pleasant area had been already been contacted, she said.
“It’s not exactly a state secret at this point,” she said.
King said the Police Department has established site preferences, but declined to disclose the rankings.
“The sites are all good sites,” she said. “It basically boils down to price tag. Obviously we want the best possible location, but we also have to be mindful of the cost.”
“We don’t have a cost comparison yet,” she added. “We’re trying to negotiate a deal with people. We want the (property owners) to benefit, but we don’t want to overpay either.”
Some property owners near the Stanwood-Pleasant area have grown accustomed to requests to sell.
In 2004, the corner was considered a potential location for a new central fire station, along with a location near the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Pleasant Street. The Stanwood-Pleasant proposal drew strong objections from residents, including some of the potential sellers, who King said were caught off-guard by the town’s plans.
In 2007 and 2008, some of those same property owners supported a plan to construct a Walgreens store at the corner after negotiating favorable deals with the developer. The proposal drew criticism from other residents and some councilors who argued that the 11,500-square-foot store would lead to the spread of similar development downtown.
The Walgreens proposal was later linked with a project to extend Paul Street, which runs parallel to Pleasant, all the way to Stanwood, thereby opening up access to several businesses and the potential development of a business park. While some councilors saw merit in the Paul Street plan, they refused to support it because it had been linked to Walgreens.
It’s unknown if a police station at the corner would revive the Paul Street extension proposal.
The station remains one of the last components of the town’s complex facilities puzzle, created by the demolition of the old high school on McKeen Street.
“We’ve conquered a lot of it,” King said. “We’ve done a pretty good job at arranging the chess board. Now we have to move the final piece.”
King said the police station subcommittee is on hiatus until it is presented with a cost comparison of the three sites.