The owner of Pacific Hall, a former church that's currently serving as the temporary home for the Bass Harbor Memorial Library, is hoping to donate the building to the town. PHOTO COURTESY OF LISA MURRAY

Historic hall may be gifted to town

TREMONT — Morgan Churchman has offered his building to the town, for free.

Known to many as Pacific Hall and the temporary home of the Bass Harbor Memorial Library during the construction of their addition, the building is located at 735 Tremont Road.

On Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen unanimously authorized Town Manager Chris Saunders to work with the town’s attorney to draw up a transfer deed on the building formerly known as the Tremont Methodist Church.

Saunders will also prepare a warrant article asking voters to accept the donation at next year’s annual town meeting.

“I think it’s a great offer,” Selectman Kevin Buck said. “My only question is, what are we going to do with the building?”

When Saunders first brought the proposed donation to selectmen July 15, they asked him to find out more about the expense involved in maintaining the building.

Using utility bills from FY18 and FY19, Saunders estimated the annual expenses for the building to be around $10,500. He presented selectmen with a first-year cost of $12,500 with an additional $2,000 for the installment of a security camera.

“Can we shut it down during the winter?” Selectman Howdy Goodwin asked. “That would save quite a bit.”

Before the building became the library’s temporary home it was used for private parties and community events. Selectmen suggested the space could be used for private events once again or as a public gathering space for organizations, such as the ones that currently utilize the Town Office’s Harvey Kelley Meeting Room.

One resident asked if there is any adjoining land to increase available parking at the location.

“Without parking that limits its desirability for any kind of crowd,” he said.

Churchman offered to donate the building to the town earlier this year. According to Saunders, Churchman said if the town was not interested in the donation the building would go to a nonprofit. Either as a town property or home to a nonprofit the building would be exempt from paying taxes to the town.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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