Naples budgets for old town hall

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — There are “no concrete plans” for the old town hall building that has been vacant since sometime after Labor Day.

However, the Naples Board of Selectmen would like a small, maintenance budget for the building.

“We should put a little money aside for paint and stuff like that,” Selectman Dana Watson said.

The small brick building, which is located in the Village Green next to the Naples United Methodist Church, once served as the town office. The structure dates back to the mid-1830s, according to Watson.

By all accounts, it appears to have been erected in 1834, he said.

The building’s history also includes being the Naples Historical Society’s museum and also the Visitors’ Center. The structure was open from May through September. For the past three years, it was the site of the Maine Antique Glass and Bottle Museum.

Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak said the matter was on Monday’s agenda because “I’ve been thinking about what the town needs to do with the building.”

“It has been renovated. It has been winterized. It is still safe to walk in,” he said.

“I don’t know that the building has any problems. It’s just sitting there,” Paraschak said.

The town manager said he hoped the vacant building might attract some type of museum again.

Watson estimated that $5,000 would be a good amount for painting and light maintenance.

Selectman Christine Powers asked about the availability of grants for upkeep of the historical building.

Chairman Bob Caron II said he liked the idea of looking into grants for the old town hall.

Caron also favored opening the doors of the building during the summer months so that taxpayers and visitors could see the interior.

At this time, the board did not send a recommendation to the Naples Budget Committee to budget for the maintenance of the old town hall. The money could be allocated from the existing account for the maintenance of the town-owned building; but that was not discussed.

Chairman Caron expressed concerns about future expenses if the building needed to be in compliance with state building codes.

“If the town had to do anything to bring it up to code, there will be a cost,” Caron said.

Paraschak said ideally another museum would be the most complementary use for the building.

“We are thinking about future use” of the building, he said.

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