Poland board tables request for warrant articles

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POLAND — Selectmen took no action Tuesday night on a request to place two articles on the April town meeting warrant asking whether to sell the McConaghy property to Lifesprings for $1.

Lifesprings is a nonprofit organization whose immediate goal is to establish a senior center for Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland residents.

Pat Nash, a member of Lifesprings’ board of directors, told selectmen the McConaghy property is a perfect location for a senior center. Her group is ready to repair the building and establish the center on the first floor, she said.

Selectmen had reservations about Lifesprings’ plan for the building. The board went through a fairly lengthy process which culminated last July in a plan to develop a unified municipal center for town property, extending from Ricker Memorial Library to the Town Office. The McConaghy property lies between the library and the Town Hall, and the consensus at the time was that the large red house, formerly owned by the McConaghys, should be sold to someone who would move it to another location.

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Selectman Steve Robinson wondered whether the group was aware of the cost of moving and renovating the building.

“I think its a wonderful idea,” Robinson said, “but I don’t think that building is the way to go.”

Robinson said he believed the estimate of $100,000 to bring the building up to code specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act is accurate.

Selectman Stan Tetenman figured it would cost between $25,000 and $30,000 to move the building.

Several selectmen suggested the group might be better off with a new building, perhaps a modular that could be designed to their specifications.

Nash said that when members of her group did a walk-through, it appeared the deficiencies were not as bad as they were made out to be. Further, she noted that the group had a number of talented volunteers who could do much of the work.

“We would like to keep it right where it is,” she said. “I believe it can be incorporated into your plan, be an asset.”

Selectmen did not say whether they would put the suggested articles on the town meeting warrant.

In other business:

* Selectmen, on the advice of Code Enforcement Officer Nick Adams, put on hold plans for a public hearing on whether the property at 329 North Raymond Road ought to be demolished. It has been declared dangerous.

Adams said the owners and the bank might be coming to an agreement to repair the building.

* Robinson reported that Town Clerk Judith Akers had determined that the petitions to remove all five selectmen had an insufficient number of signatures. Informed of this, those circulating the petitions decided not to pursue the matter, she said.

* Robinson announced that the pool of 44 applicants for town manager had been whittled down to two candidates and residents would have an opportunity to meet them at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 11 and 13 at locations to be determined. Robinson said he wouldn’t release their names until then.

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