Oxford voters have authorized selectmen to sell the town office at 85 Pleasant Street. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

OXFORD — With voters rejecting a proposal that would have moved Oxford’s administrative employees from the  mildewed and deteriorating building at 85 Pleasant Street to temporary space at Oxford Plaza, selectmen are left to once again attempt to patch up its unsafe conditions with cleaning and mold remediation.

Immediately after the June 5 annual town meeting, Town Manager Adam Garland reached out to SERVPRO for recommendations on how to proceed. He said he expects them to return with an estimate shortly, even as the building basement continues to take on water seeping in around the foundation, an issue that has plagued it for more than 30 years.

The building has undergone multiple attempts at remediation and sanitization cleaning at least three times in recent years but conditions have continued to worsen.

“The health and safety of our staff and the public is of utmost importance,” said Adam Garland on Tuesday. “Voters voted down leasing space and we will continue to work towards a new building.”

Voters at town meeting were skeptical that the previous select board even had a plan for constructing a new office building, although details and dates for the plan was included in the reference material packet printed before the meeting and also available in an informational video Garland prepared and posted on the town’s website.

Garland said the only hard adjustments to that plan he anticipates selectmen making, will be if a party expresses a sudden interest in buying the 85 Pleasant Street property, which voters authorized selectmen to pursue at town meeting. He has sent requests for appraisal to a commercial broker but has not yet had a response back.

In the mean time, Garland will address a prospective sale at tonight’s selectmen’s meeting.

“I will ask for direction on how to move forward with it,” Garland said. “We could list it with a broker, or put it out to bid. And get direction on what to do should we sell it quickly.”

Garland has initiated a dialogue with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission about the former high school. Developers of properties can apply for tax credits if they are deemed to hold historic value and are restored or rehabilitated. The town office is not currently registered as a historic property; Garland said any new owner would have to apply and present their plans to the commission in order to realize the savings.

 

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