The site of the former Dean and Eugley gas station has sat empty for years but the lot could soon have a “new” structure. Through several community groups including the Lincolnville Community Alliance, Lincolnville Boat Club and Lincolnville Historical Society residents are working to move the historic 19th century, single room Center School House building across the street where it will be renovated to house Lincolnville Community Library.

The building is presently owned by Lincolnville Boat Club, which also owns the old fire station garage beside the schoolhouse. Lincolnville Boat Club purchased both buildings from the town in late fall 2011 after both structures sat unoccupied for approximately a year following the construction of the new Lincolnville Fire Station. The boat club purchased both buildings and the property for $40,000. Lincolnville Boat Club has offered the schoolhouse building to Lincolnville Historical Society with a unique catch — that it be moved directly across to the street to the town-owned property where Dean and Eugley used to sit.

Lincolnville Historical Society President Diane O’Brien said the Dean and Eugley site has received many evaluations by the Department of Environmental protection and is presently considered usable — on the contingency no soil is disturbed on the contaminated site. Pending permitting, O’Brien said the Center School House could likely be placed on the existing slab, minimizing any disturbance to the site. She said moving the building will cost $5,000 and the goal is to have the building on the Dean and Eugley site by fall 2012. O’Brien said the historical society will lease the Dean and Eugley site from the town of Lincolnville for a yet-to-be-determined sum.

Although the building was given to Lincolnville Historical Society, they offered to let the library committee use it to house the future Lincolnville Community Library.  The library committee voted to accept the offer. The historical society will continue to operate the School House Museum at the renovated Beach School House on Route 173. The library committee is presently operating under the umbrella of the Lincolnville Community Alliance and has already begun to raise funds and collect donated books said library committee chairwoman Sheila Polson. An interim library is being housed in the Grampa Hall’s building and operates during the hours the Farmers’ Market is in session Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Polson said volunteers have already begun to catalog donated books using the Dewey Decimal system and they’re investigating the possibility of expanding hours of operation as summer approaches.

“We’ve had lots of generous donations and lots of books are ready to be checked out on the shelves,” Polson said.

O’Brien said previous incarnations of a library in Lincolnville haven’t gained traction and have fallen by the wayside for “many years.” She believes the support and infrastructure is in place for such a project now.

Moving the Center School building is only the beginning, according to O’Brien. She said the building will need some major renovation work including flooring. She said the back of the building will be open once it’s moved from the present site. Volunteers have been brainstorming the concept of a green renovation and looking into whether low-impact technologies like solar and a waterless toilet would be feasible for the Center School building once the move is complete, she said. O’Brien said the library committee will be responsible for designing the interior of the building. Lincolnville Historical Society members also envision utilizing a portion of the lot as an open air museum where larger historical artifacts such as antique farm implements might be displayed in three-walled sheds. The idea of adding raised gardens and native plantings has been discussed, O’Brien said.

“It’s evolving,” she said of the vision for future of the site.

O’Brien said the former fire house garage, now Lincolnville Boat Club headquarters and school house building will create an entry way into Lincolnville Center. She said reclaiming the polluted Dean and Eugley site for a positive community purpose is important as well.

“This will turn a blighted property into something useful and attractive,” she said. “We like the idea of putting a 20th Century building on a 21st Century petroleum contaminated site.”

Still, O’Brien said they’re taking it one step at a time.

“We need to get [the Center School House] across and get it secure for the winter. What comes next, I don’t know,” she said.

Fundraising for the move has been a joint effort. Cindy Dunham, president of Lincolnville Community Alliance said the year-old group is working to be a “catalyst for revitalizing the center.” She said LCA has honed in on a few projects that will be helpful to the center. The organization is sponsoring a combination yard, bake and plant sale at the Center School on Saturday, April 28, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to fundraise for several groups including the Lincolnville Historical Society’s Let’s Move It! campaign, Lincolnville Community Library, Lincolnville Farmers’ Market and the fledgling Lincolnville Bicycle Cooperative. Both O’Brien and Dunham said the primary goal of fundraising efforts is to raise seed money for insurance. Dunham explained insurance is key for future gatherings and community events hosted by those groups. She said the partnership in Lincolnville Center has been inspiring.

“It’s a win, win, win, win, I don’t know how many times,” Dunham said.

Other fundraising efforts include the “Pie Buy.” O’Brien said about 10 women get together two mornings a week to assemble pre-ordered pies for pick up at the Saturday morning Farmers’ Market. The ladies work in the kitchen of Lincolnville Improvement Association, which shares space with the School House Museum near Lincolnville Beach. The ladies take the pies — 40-50 per week according to O’Brien — and bake them in the brick oven at Rose Thomas’s Dolce Vita Farm. O’Brien said the pies are baked in the oven in batches of 30 at a time. She said the next pie menu will include cheesecake pie, strawberry rhubarb pie and quiche made using local feta and eggs. Another upcoming fundraiser is the performance of a play titled “Three Weeks, 31 Flats” about the Hardy family’s trip to Florida in 1921. O’Brien said she and Rosey Gerry will be among the cast members that will perform the radio play in August.

Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at jlookner@villagesoup.com