Police & Fire

Milo Select Board explores options for new public safety building

MILO — The town of Milo wants to build a public safety building to house its police, fire and public works departments.

The project has been a discussion among Milo Select Board members for some time, and “this is the closest we’ve come to getting anything to move forward,” Town Clerk Betty Gormley said Wednesday.

Town Manager Robert Canney and several other department heads recently met with a representative from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ office and discussed their options to build a public safety building. Current facilities are cramped and sometimes pose safety issues, Canney said at the Select Board meeting Tuesday.

The United States Department of Agriculture has a program that lends funds to municipalities to build infrastructure, but the town would not be able to afford it, he said.

Another program where funds are earmarked for infrastructure would be a better option, Canney said, though he won’t know until mid-February if it will be available. The program wasn’t in effect for the last decade, but it was brought back in 2021 to help with infrastructure improvements, he said.

In this file photo from August 2021, firefighter trainees from several departments across the region participate in a live burn session at the Milo Fire Department’s testing site at the Eastern Piscataquis Business Park. The trainees extinguished fires in a controlled setting under the watcheful eyes of trainers and veteran firefighters and chiefs. (Stuart Hedstrom | Piscataquis Observer)

“If we get funded under that program, the whole project is funded,” he said. “There’s no loan that the town has to apply for. The need is there. She [the senator’s representative] agreed that it’s not really a safe environment.”

Canney gave the senator’s representative a tour of the town’s facilities and land where the building could potentially be constructed. The representative said Collins is “very interested in spending some of this federal money in Piscataquis County,” Canney said.

The town has contacted Fairfield-based Dirigo Engineering to provide a cost estimate for the project. The consultant is already working with the town on a water and sewer project, Canney said.

The board also chose Bangor-based Gardner Concrete to demolish the former J&S Furniture store and the Masonic Building.

The board received four bids for the demolition and removal of structures at 64 Main St. and 68 Main St. Gardner Concrete proposed $74,000, the lowest bid, for the project.

The Select Board previously held a public hearing, where members deemed the structures dangerous buildings, Town Manager Robert Canney said. The roof of the Masonic Building partially collapsed in March 2021 while the owner, her two children and boyfriend were inside, but they escaped without injuries.

“He [Bryden Gardner] will be stopping by this afternoon [Wednesday] to go through the buildings with us again to take a more in-depth look so he can start his planning,” Canney said Wednesday.

The board agreed to hold a public hearing to discuss a proposed marijuana cultivation facility at 87 Park St. The facility would grow medical marijuna, which would be sold to dispensaries licensed by the state.

The Select Board needs to give approval before the state can sign off and issue a license, Canney said.

The exterior of the facility would have 24-hour surveillance, according to a document that the building owners submitted to the board. There will also be alarms and panic buttons throughout, along with steel doors that require a code to enter.

The public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22. The Select Board will have its regular meeting afterward.

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