Police & Fire

Burnes appointed as Dover-Foxcroft chief of police

DOVER-FOXCROFT — After several weeks serving in an interim capacity, Sgt. Seth Burnes was appointed as Dover-Foxcroft’s chief of police by the select board during a meeting on Monday evening. He is now the sixth police chief in the history of the Dover-Foxcroft Police Department

“It’s my pleasure to bring this nomination forward to you, Sgt. Seth Burnes to be chief of police,” Town Manager Jack Clukey said, saying Burnes will also serve as the community’s emergency management director. 

“I really appreciate the opportunity to step into this role,” Burnes said. “We’re all going to miss (recently departed Police Chief Matt Grant) who’s a good leader and role model to follow and hopefully I can fill his shoes.”

Observer photo/Valerie Royzman
NEW POLICE CHIEF — Seth Burnes was appointed as the Dover-Foxcroft police chief by the select board on Monday evening. The former department sergeant, Burnes had served as chief in an interim capacity for several weeks after Matt Grant stepped down as chief earlier in the month.

Burnes was appointed to a term to run through June 30, but Selectperson Tom Lizotte said the chief will serve for more than a 3-month stint.

At its organizational meeting after the June election, the select board votes on a list of nearly 100 municipal appointees and Burnes would be reappointed to another term for the 2023-24 fiscal year.

Burnes succeeds Grant, who stepped down on March 3 after three-plus years in the position and a little more than four with the department. He will be taking a position with another agency.

Grant’s resignation as of March 3 was accepted by the select board and the board also appointed Burnes to serve as interim chief following Grant’s departure. 

Observer photo/Valerie Royzman
SWEARING IN — Dover-Foxcroft Town Clerk Lisa Bell Ronco swears in Seth Burnes as chief police during a select board meeting on Monday evening.

That evening Grant said he had a good four years serving his hometown and “things should be a fairly smooth transition.”

“I think Sgt. Burnes is going to do well by the town and pick up where I left off and carry the ball down the field,” Grant said.

In other business, Thompson Free Library Director of Library Service Jon Knepp told the select board about a project to build a pavilion behind the library on the lawn near River Street.

Previously a tent, which collapsed last year, had been used for concerts and other events with a large number of attendees. Knepp said some children’s programs drew an audience of about 200. “During COVID it was really a good idea to get people out of an enclosed space,” he said.

A crew from the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston will construct the pavilion with ground and concrete work being done in advance. Knepp said a donor has contributed $5,000 toward the project and a business has given another $5,000.

“In total we have $31,000 in donations already to do this project,” Knepp said. He said the Thompson Free Library has applied for a grant through the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation.

“We think it will really benefit the library and community and our programming,” the director said. He said community groups will be able to use the pavilion at no cost.

“It will be a good place for the community to come and use the grounds,” Knepp said.

“We’re really fortunate to have a town that’s so giving to the library and loves the library so much,” he said.

Grant funding through the Maine State Library is being sought for some building modifications at the Thompson Free Library. Knepp said the monies would create some remote working space, for both residents and summer residents to come in and work in “privacy pods” while being able to use other library services such as printing.

A meeting room is being planned for the downstairs and the existing meeting room will have some improvements made.

In his report Clukey said the town has submitted a letter of intent for Community Development Block Grant funds to facilitate a housing project at the former Browns Mill site. If the town is invited to proceed, then a full application would be due in May. 

“There is interest on the part of the owner and developer to try to put together a project for housing at Browns Mill,” Clukey said about the former woolen mill and tannery on Vaught Street along the Piscataquis River. The structure has five floors and around 65,000 square feet of usable space.

“It would be some component of affordable housing, based on the developer’s plan,” he added.

The town manager said two requests have been made for Congressionally directed spending. One is for the construction phase of the Lincoln Street bridge and the other is for a Monument Square redevelopment project. 

Clukey said he will pass along status updates on the requests as these come in.

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