LEWISTON — Work renovating the Grand Trunk railroad depot on Lincoln Street will be pushed back at least a month as building owners solicit bids from the public.

Virginia Manuel, state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development office, said all projects her department helps fund that will cost more than $50,000 require bidding be open to the public.

The Lewiston-Auburn Railroad Company, owner of the depot, hoped to begin work renovating it right away. The $370,000 renovations are being funded with $55,000 of the railroad board’s money, a $200,000 stimulus grant from the USDA and $115,800 from the city of Lewiston’s Community Development Block Grant allocation.

“We are downloading the guidelines for the bids now,” said Ken St. Amand, a staffer with the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council who works with the railroad board. “We’re hoping to get it advertised right away.”

St. Amand said work won’t begin for at least another month — possibly longer. The railroad board had hoped to finish renovations in October, but it now expects work to wrap up in November or December.

The board voted Wednesday to proceed with the project and to approve a lease agreement with a still unnamed woman. The railroad board plans to spend $370,000 to get the building ready for its new tenant; she is expected to spend $230,000 to complete renovations.

According to the lease agreement, the woman will pay the railroad board $10 per square foot per year for the 2,100-square-foot station. That comes to $1,750 per month and includes the building and any parking available on the site.

St. Amand said the board was unaware of the USDA’s bid requirement. The railroad board had hired Lewiston-based Landry Construction to do the building renovations based on its history with the company.

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