By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER - Town officials are working to complete a list of requirements needed before the state will sign over a block grant for the acquisition and renovation of the Dexter Shoe building on Water Street. Last week, the Town Council selected James Sewall Co. to conduct an engineering study and environmental review of the building, which town officials hope to fill with another industry.
The Old Town company, one of five engineering firms that offered bids ranging from $13,200 to $52,000, submitted the lowest amount for the project, according to Town Manager Robert Simpson.
The work, which started this week, includes a study of the structural integrity of the building and roof, a review of support requirements such as utilities, and an environmental study to determine the potential for subdividing the building.
Town officials earlier this year signed a purchase and sales agreement with H.H Brown Co., the parent company of Dexter Shoe Co., for the building, one of several the company owns in Dexter. That agreement, which calls for a purchase price of $159,000 and a closing date of no later than March 17, 2003, is contingent upon the town's receiving a Community Development Block Grant.
Although the town has filed an application for a grant, much more work is needed before a grant can be approved, according to Orman Whitcomb, director of the state Office of Community Development. The project, however, has the backing of Whitcomb's department, and the $400,000 for the purchase of the building and its renovation is basically assured, he said Monday. But the formalities have to be completed. Those include, among other things, a fair housing self-assessment, the adoption of a fair housing resolution, a public hearing, a planning board review, local acceptance of the funds, and the environmental review.
Whitcomb said communities whose projects get the initial nod are given up to six months to complete the paperwork necessary for the grant. The funds are reserved for the project during that time.
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