Blues Fest moves into brick building

 

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — The Maine Blues Festival has done the work necessary to make the old town hall into a place for meetings of organizers of the summertime music festival. Additionally, the building should be ready for the public by mid-June — just in time for Blues Fest weekend.

The old town office is located in the Village Green. It is the small brick building overlooking Roosevelt Trail and adjacent to the Naples United Methodist Church.

The Town of Naples leases the building to the Maine Blues Festival for a fee of $100 a month.

On Monday, the Naples Board of Selectmen unanimously extended that lease for another year. As part of the lease, the Maine Blues Festival foots the heating and utility bills.

Blues Fest co-founder Kevin Kimball appeared before the selectmen to update them on the status of the building.

“We have been doing maintenance — extensive plumbing in bathroom, painting on the exterior and the interior. It’s a work in progress. We’re hoping to have it ready for the festival itself,” Kimball said, adding a grand opening is in the works.

“The bathroom is functional,” he said. “We have to use a t-wrench to turn the water on and off. There is a leak in there somewhere. We turn it on as needed, and then turn it off.

Naples Maintenance Director Steve Merkle assured Kimball and the board that the water issue would be taken care of this spring.

“In the spring, we have to dig it up. That cluster — there are three water keys in a row: One to Singer Center, one to church and one to Blues building. We will have to replace it,” Merkle said.

Kimball also addressed the ramp to make the building assessable to people with handicaps and the required insurance binder.

The building is being rented by the Maine Blues Fest, which is a nonprofit. Meanwhile, the Maine Blues Heritage Foundation is the group that is responsible for putting together the blues history museum that will be housed in the building.

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