Proposal to buy old Paris Fire Station includes parking rights for event center

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PARIS — While the town negotiates the sale of the old fire station on Pine Street, some residents are concerned about the buyers’ request for 30 customer parking spaces in the lot behind Market Square.

Terry and Sandy Swett of Swett Signs in North Bridgton want to move Swett Signs into the building and turn the upper floor into an event and meeting space called The Station House. It would host weddings, business meetings and other functions.

They’ve offered the town $25,000 for the building and the 0.27-acre lot on which it sits. Additional space in the lower level would be available for a business to rent.

The Swetts say parking rights will be necessary for the business, and the request includes permission to use the town parking lot behind the Town Office as overflow parking for larger events.

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“We have every intention to transform the interior of the former fire hall into a more modern and comfortable facility,” the Swetts said in a letter to selectmen.

Some residents expressed concern that the space behind the fire station is used partially for snow removed from town streets. Town Manager Amy Bernard said even with snow plowed to both sides of the lot, there would still be plenty of room between the rows of parked cars. She said Road Foreman Dan Nowell had said the same.

Terry Swett said he would honor a curfew of midnight for emptying the building so town trucks could bring snow to the lot after it snows. He was less enthusiastic about a proposal by the board that the parking rights come with a one-year probationary period to ensure the parking wouldn’t cause any problems.

The Planning Board has already approved the parking proposal.

The town manager is in negotiations with the Swetts. Selectmen voted unanimously to have Bernard continue negotiations.

treaves@sunjournal.com

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