St. John Valley

GSA to purchase a tax-acquired property in Madawaska

MADAWASKA, Maine — The Board of Selectmen accepted a bid during its June 18 meeting from the General Service Administration for $10,000  to purchase tax-acquired property from the town. 

 

GSA wants to use the property as part of the new land port of entry for the international bridge project that will go out to bid later this year.

Selectmen also decided to hold off on a special town meeting to determine if voters are on board with selling some town property to Frenchville. 

In every annual town meeting warrant, there is an item to allow the Board of Selectmen to sell tax-acquired property at the discretion of the board, Town Manager Gary Picard said. That is the reason the town is able to sell the tax-acquired land to the GSA. But the board needs voter approval to sell town-owned land to Frenchville. 

Officials with the Maine and New Brunswick transportation agencies, engineering consultants and other representatives from U.S. and Canadian agencies unveiled plans in January 2019 to build the new international bridge. It will extend from the existing span’s location in Edmundston and end about 1,300 feet up the St. John River from the existing port of entry in Madawaska. 

The GSA held an informational session in December 2018, where it listened to concerns of Madawaska residents and property owners. At that same meeting, three plans were outlined for the project. Either option B or C would require the GSA to buy the McDonald’s property and three residences on Vital Drive for either of those models to work. Meanwhile, the option A faced other issues such as parking and snow storage for the Land Port of Entry. 

The GSA issued a notice Oct. 4, 2019, on a decision to  go with Alternative C for the Madawaska International Bridge, which requires the acquisition of the current McDonald’s property — uprooting the fast food franchise. 

Multiple attempts to contact the owner of McDonald’s have been unsuccessful. 

Among those properties that need to be acquired by the GSA for option C to be viable include the tax-acquired property the town holds. 

On June 11, the GSA sent a proposal to Picard offering $10,000 in exchange for “the fee simple estate in the aforementioned property, together with all water and other rights, easements, and appurtenances thereunto belonging, and owned by the Town,” according to the email. 

“The town will be made more than whole by this transaction,” Picard said during Thursday’s meeting. 

The board approved the sale of 91 Vital Drive to the GSA for a total of $10,000. 

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