Casco narrows town office options

THIS BUILDING — that once served as the Casco Town Office and then as a TD Bank branch, now stands vacant. It is one of two options for future sketches of a town office plan. (De Busk Photo)

THIS BUILDING — that once served as the Casco Town Office and then as a TD Bank branch, now stands vacant. It is one of two options for future sketches of a town office plan. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Casco’s local elected officials decided to narrow the focus of options for a future town office.

Their decision was based on comments of residents and a desire to keep down the cost of engineer’s sketches.

The Casco Board of Selectmen zoned in on two options: A remodel of the former TD Bank building next to the library in the Village, and a newly-constructed building located on the lot of the Casco Fire Station — also in the Village district.

During its Tuesday meeting, the board voted to move forward with sketches of the two alternatives for a new town office.

The current structure, which for the past nine years has served as the Casco Town Office, was designed as a storage space. The building even has garage doors on the side.

Meanwhile, as was pointed out by the selectmen, town documents are stored hither and yon.

Chairman Grant Plummer toyed with the idea of asking individuals who work at the fire station if they would use the building for storage if it was vacated, and if that storage space is needed.

Certainly, town storage space is a much-needed commodity in the Village.

“We have storage up above the post office, which has a dangerous stairway, and underneath the community center. We store road construction signs in a basement — another set of stairs,” Plummer said.

Mary-Vienessa Fernandes agreed.

“We are storing a little bit of everything everywhere in this town,” she said.

Town Manager Dave Morton spoke about the benefits of freeing up the building — once again using it as storage space for multiple town departments.

“Storage is critical for us,” he said.

Morton also addressed the difficulty of expanding the current building.

“From a practical standpoint, it would be hard to operate the town office while construction is taking place. I am sure there would be a way to do that, but it would be a challenge,” he said, adding that there would be nowhere for personnel and equipment to go to sidestep a construction project.

At that point during the evening, the board decided to dismiss the idea of constructing an addition to the existing building.

Another factor in that decision was cost.

“If the board is only interested in two options, we wanted to invest in only those two plans,” Morton said.

Most likely money for the professional sketches would come from either the Contingency Fund or the Building Maintenance Fund, he said.

“Narrowing down the options would be less costly. We are just trying to approach this” in the most cost effective manner, he said.

 

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