AUBURN — Councilors could settle a deal on a downtown bus station Monday night.

City Manager Clinton Deschene said the city would lease a trapezoid-shaped plot at the southwest corner of Hannaford’s property at Spring and Drummond streets for the 1,500-square-foot bus station.

The station would be small, with room for a warm seating area, driver restrooms and possibly space for a small retail operation.

“It’s not to be just a bus station,” Deschene said. “This is an investment in changing our downtown, urbanizing it and showing a vision that started with Auburn Hall. These are all little pieces that lead to building a vibrant downtown.”

Councilors are scheduled to vote to authorize Deschene to settle the lease during their regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in Auburn Hall.

The lease is being negotiated now, Deschene said.

“The way it’s being framed, this would be a 20- or 30-year deal for something like $1 per year,” he said.

The deal would put an end to an 11-year process to build an Auburn companion to Lewiston’s Oak Street bus station.

The Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee was given a $250,000 grant from the Federal Transit Agency in 2002 to build a bus station in Auburn. Original plans put the station alongside a proposed Great Falls Plaza garage in the parking lot near the Auburn Esplanade and Hilton Garden Inn.

That garage was not built, however, and the Transit Committee moved the hub for Auburn’s bus traffic to Spring Street, near Hannaford.

Deschene said the city will use up to $250,000 in Tax Increment Financing money to help pay for the center in addition to the grant money. That will pay for purchasing the property, building the structure and landscaping.

“The pieces really started falling together for this on Thursday,” Deschene said. “There are a lot of partners and we need to make sure everything is in place. It’s obvious that we are making a lot of headway, but we have contracts to be implemented, site plan discussions and a whole variety things that need to be done.”

Hannaford spokesperson Michael Norton said the company wants to be a good neighbor.

“We are a part of the community,” Norton said. “It is in our interest to make it easy for people to access the area and to make it easy to get your errands done. But frankly, it’s more in the spirit of being a good community member.”

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