Why aren’t you building at the Town Garage site?
The garage is located in the center of the Town and it was initially our preference. We looked at using the space between the road and the garage, but it wasn’t large enough to offer parking without interfering with the Highway Department’s operations. We approached landowners adjacent to the garage, but none expressed an interest in selling.
We also realized that locating in Winthrop or Sanfordville would allow at least some people to walk to the Town Hall. In addition, we wanted to stay in compliance with the State’s Smart Growth guidelines as we hope to obtain some funding from them.
Finally, the site in Winthrop will allow us to connect to municipal sewer, natural gas and possibly municipal water.
Why did you pay so much for the lot?
There were not a lot of options when we were looking. We identified 12 parcels, none of which were on the market, and ranked them based on a number of criteria. We had a real estate broker ask the owners of the top ranked sites (including the ones around the Town Garage) about selling them without divulging that it was the Town that was looking. None responded positively. As we were looking down the list, we found out that this parcel was available. It scored very high on our ranking, but it was much larger than we needed. The owner was unwilling to subdivide or come down on the price, as the proceeds would be needed to pay the mortgage and obtain clear title. In the end, we determined that it was in our best interest to buy the parcel rather than to continue to look.
When the Town Hall is built, the Board will look at the best use for the part of the property that wasn’t used. At that point, it could be sold or utilized for some other municipal purpose. We don’t believe that it will diminish in value; as H.L. Mencken said, “They aren’t making anymore dirt.”
Why not spiff up the old office and stay there?
This was our first consideration and was thoroughly researched. We found that it would cost nearly as much as a new office and we would still be in a WW I Quonset building with insufficient parking. It was also determined that the annual cost of financing the upgrade would be more than what we intend to borrow for the new construction.
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