Police & Fire

Greenville select board appoints planning board alternate

GREENVILLE — An alternate vacancy on the Greenville Planning Board has been filled with the appointment of a retired realtor and former Old Town Planning Board member. 

The Greenville select board formally approved the town planning board’s recommendation of David W. Case during a meeting on Feb. 1.

“As you know the planning board has five members and two alternate members and the alternate members step up if one of the five or two of the five regular members can’t attend a meeting so alternates are very important people,” Planning Board Chair John Contreni said. Previously the board had vacancies for both alternate seats.

Contreni said Case submitted an application and met with Code Enforcement Officer Ron Sarol. Contreni said the planning board was impressed with Case’s application, which described his experience as an Old Town Planning Board member and work as a realtor before he retired to Greenville several years ago.

“So he knows about houses and those kinds of things,” Contreni said.

In his application, Case wrote he wants to be part of the community, something Select Chair Geno Murray recalled when talking with him.

“He seems to be very civically mindful and certainly looks like he’s had a good career,” Murray said.

In other business, Fire Chief Sawyer Murray updated the board on a number of department items. 

He said thatl he and firefighters spoke in the fall to many classes at the Greenville Consolidated School on fire prevention, and students remembered visits from the previous year. Murray said firefighters had lunch with students and also played outside at recess. 

He said one lesson centered on calling 9-1-1 and how the children should respond to the dispatcher’s questions.

The fire department used a $9,200 grant and Greenville Firefighters Association funds to purchase a snowmobile, replacing an older model. 

“That’s going to be huge, we have the ability to respond to snowmobile accidents,” Murray said.

He said the older model, which has not been running because it needs a new carburetor, will be raffled off in conjunction with the March 3-5 ice fishing derby.

“The more fire permits we’re putting out, the more complaints we’re getting so we’re following up there,” the fire chief said. Murray said fire permit applications can be made online and department personnel will inspect the site in advance.

“The nice thing about that is if we get a call we can pull it up on our phone,” he said to see if a permit has been issued or not.

Murray said the roster is up from 20 to 24, which includes seasonal members of the department. “If they’re up here, especially in the summer, then they’re able to help us out and that’s a big deal,” he said.

“This year we finished with 70 more calls than last year, so it was about a near 50 percent increase from last year,” the chief said about the approximate 200 total. “A lot of those were service calls, we did have a few serious calls — a couple of building fires.’”

Between training, work sessions and calls about 1,045 combined hours were put in by firefighters (excluding Murray).

With all of the Moosehead Lake water being in Piscataquis County and after a 2022 lake island structure fire, the Greenville Fire Department is looking at purchasing a boat. 

The price tag could be up to $350,000, which would include a ramp, pump, and room for side by side to be transported. Murray said one donation has been made to the boat account so far, and he is unsure how the vehicle would be funded.

“There’s been a lot of time being spent on the new building,” Murray said about the public safety building project.

The Greenville Public Safety Building will house the fire and police departments to help with current outdated spaces and building code violations. It will be built at the site of the fire station on Minden Street across from the town office.

The project recently received a $902,000 boost as part of federal appropriations bills.

Residents approved up to $5,150,000 in bonds at the annual town meeting in June to finance surveys, demolition, construction and related expenditures for the structure. The bond is expected to be issued in May, with plans to repay it over the course of 15 years, according to the warrant article.

Town Manager Mike Roy said he had received a call about someone interested in a garage door from the old fire station, which will be demolished. He said after checking with the Maine Municipal Association, this can only be done by a contractor licensed to remove debris.

“It’s unfortunate because there’s some items I feel are worth something,” Roy said.

He said four or five community members are needed to serve on the budget committee, with applications available at https://greenvilleme.com/.

“The process would be March to May and hopefully as smooth as it’s always been,” the town manager said.

Roy, Murray and Sarol were scheduled to meet with representatives of a nonprofit group that purchased homes and turned them into rental units in Millinocket plans to build affordable housing in Greenville.

“It’s engineers and designers coming for various meetings and to begin to think about how to move forward,”  Moosehead Lake Regional Economic Development Corp President Margarita Contreni said.

She said roundtables would be held with business leaders “to get a sense of the market need and types of housing that are desirable and so on.”

The Northern Forest Center is working to bring middle-income housing to the community as it has done in Millinocket and Lancaster, New Hampshire. The organization has joined with the town of Greenville, Northern Light CA Dean Hospital, Northern Light Health and the Moosehead Lake Regional Economic Development Corp. to develop a housing unit on about 5 acres on Spruce Street off Pritham Avenue to help remedy the housing issues near Moosehead Lake.

As in the rest of Maine, Greenville in recent years has been experiencing a lack of available middle-income housing. Many homes put on the market are quickly purchased to serve as Airbnbs or second homes, and lower-income housing has strict residency requirements that precludes young workers from living there.

The group eventually would bring its proposal to the planning board for review, he said. The construction schedule and the number of units to be built have not been determined.

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