Belfast creating nonprofit group to assume temporary ownership of city property
Belfast — Belfast is creating a nonprofit group that will allow the city to use Brownfields Assessment funds to address environmental issues with the former Maskers Theater building.
Known as the Belfast Development Corporation, the function of the group will be to temporarily assume ownership of city owned property to allow the municipality to use its Brownfields Assessment funds to conduct the necessarily environmental studies, and to apply for a clean up grant.
The city approved spending $3,000 in February to complete the Phase I site assessment on the Maskers building, which involved a review of all documents related to the property, according to previously published reports. The next step for the city is to conduct the Phase II site assessment and a hazardous materials inventory on the building.
Before the city can demolish the building, the environmental site assessments must be completed.
In an email to The Republican Journal, Kittredge said the nonprofit group would have to vote to accept the property and they could engage in other economic development activities in the future, as well.
The Brownfields Assessment program prohibits municipalities from using the funds to assess their own properties.
According to the bylaws of the corporation, the group will consist of a five-member board of trustees — two sitting city councilors, the city manager and two members of the public. Trustees appointed by the board will serve for a term of three years or until a successor is chosen. No trustee who is not an officer will serve for more than nine consecutive years, according to the bylaws.
Councilor Mike Hurley praised the creation of the group and said it will be beneficial to economic development efforts within the city in the future.
The city is asking any members of the public who would like to serve on the board to submit their applications by Monday, Sept. 2. Applicants must be 18 years old and be a registered voter of Belfast. Applications can be returned to Kittredge at City Hall.
The formation of the Belfast Development Corporation was approved unanimously with Councilor Eric Sanders absent. Hurley and Councilor Mary Mortier volunteered to serve on the Board of Trustees.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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