Brooks Preservation Society to buy City Point StationCity can move forward on Rail Trail development plans
Belfast — Plans to construct a parking lot and restroom facility at City Point Station can move forward, as a purchase and sale agreement has been signed between Brooks Preservation Society and the owner of the property.
As part of the city's plans to construct a Rail Trail on the former Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad, which would stretch from the Penobscot McCrum property to Oak Hill Road, a parking lot and restroom facility would be constructed on City Point Station property closest to Oak Hill Road.
Belfast purchased the 3.5 mile rail corridor in 2010 for $200,000 with the intent of converting at least a portion of it to a recreation path, according to previously published reports. The corridor owned by the city extends to the Waldo town line.
The city's plans for the trail involve removing the rail and ties and creating a stone dust path. Portions of the trail where there is a steep drop and not enough room for a person to recover if they tripped would be fenced in, as well.
Before plans to develop the parking and restrooms could begin, however, the city was waiting on the purchase and sale agreement between Brooks Preservation Society, which was looking to purchase City Point Station, and Malcolm Page Sr. who owns the property.
Belfast and Brooks Preservation Society also have an agreement that states the city will be granted an exclusive easement for the construction of restrooms and a parking lot on City Point property. As well, the city will pay Brooks Preservation Society $37,400 on the date of closing at which time Brooks will take the title to the property.
In addition, the city will pay Brooks Preservation Society $5,000 a year for a period of 15 years with the first payment being made one month after the date of closing.
Belfast attorney Bill Kelly noted that the agreement also contains a provision that allows the city to acquire the real property at City Point in the event that Brooks Preservation Society defaults on its mortgage. If that were to occur, the city would pay the total remaining balance on the mortgage, plus interest and penalties, and Brooks would execute a Release Deed to the city.
“We're not going to invest in parking and bathrooms and have it go away,” Kelly explained in reference to a scenario where Brooks defaults on the mortgage.
He noted that the agreement also requires Brooks Preservation Society to amend their bylaws so that even if the organization pays off the mortgage, but later goes “belly up,” the City Point property would transfer to Belfast.
Kelly further explained that the city would only acquire the real property at City Point — the rail cars and other equipment would not be included.
Brooks Preservation Society Executive Director Joe Feero explained that part of the agreement between in organization and Page is that any equipment cannot be disposed of without Page's approval. In the event that some of the property is disposed of any proceeds must be applied to the principal of the mortgage, Feero said.
The city will pay for the development of the Rail Trail by salvaging the existing steel rail and by partnering with Camden-based Coastal Mountains Land Trust to launch a fund raising campaign that will begin later this month and go into the fall.
City Manager Joseph Slocum explained that in the event the fund raising campaign is unable to raise sufficient funds — the Rail Trail development is estimated to cost about a half a million dollars — the city won't be able to build the trail as quickly as they would like.
Slocum also explained that the city is in the process of considering different options for what type of restroom facility should be built at City Point Station. He said options could range from having a facility with running water to constructing latrines that would be cleaned regularly.
Brooks Preservation Society will be responsible for the maintenance of the restroom facilities, Slocum said.
Before discussion ended, Councilor Mike Hurley complimented the involved parties on the work they did to negotiate the purchase and sale agreement. He also encouraged people to walk along the city owned railroad tracks to get a better idea of what a trail could look like. Hurley did ask that people not cross the train trestle due to safety concerns.
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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