City officials authorized entering a purchase and sale agreement to buy property located at 59 Front Street.

The city is looking to purchase the property, which is owned by Dan Clarke and Judy Kaber, to assist with a project to reconstruct Front Street. According to previous reports, the reconstruction project will involve realigning portions of the street, reconstructing Front Street to allow the roadway to carry overweight loads, replacing sewer mains, water mains, and storm drains, modifying utility pole locations and overhead service wires and installing parking, sidewalks and pedestrian amenities to improve safety.

In addition, the project will enhance traffic flow along Front Street and Bridge Street, which is the reason the city is looking to purchase the Clarke and Kaber property.

Belfast received a $1.9 million grant from the Economic Development Administration to help fund the project, with the city committing about $1.3 million. The Belfast Water District is also contributing $600,000 to construct a new water line along Front Street.

City Planner Wayne Marshall said in a memo to councilors the total purchase price of the entire property is $270,000. The city could obtain a maximum of $75,000 from the Economic Development Administration grant to assist in the purchase of a portion of the property.

Because the city has provided a $3,000 option payment to the property owners, Marshall said the final amount due to Clarke and Kaber for both parcels will be $267,000.

Marshall noted that under the terms of the purchase and sale agreement Clarke and Kaber will have four months from the signing of the purchase and sale agreement to remove all personal possessions and similar items from the property. The city will also be responsible for the cost to demolish existing structures on the property.

In his memo, Marshall said an environmental assessment of the property indicated the cost to remove asbestos and similar materials as part of the demolition would cost approximately $1,500.

During a council meeting Tuesday, July 15, Marshall explained the city was originally looking at purchasing only a portion of the 59 Front Street property. However, after subsequent discussions, councilors indicated they wished to purchase the entire property, Marshall explained.

Marshall also noted that the purchase of Parcel No. 1, which runs along a portion of Front Street and a portion of Pierce Street, would be eligible for the $75,000 reimbursement from the Economic Development Administration. Parcel No. 2 would not be eligible for reimbursement and would be paid for from undesignated fund balance, City Manager Joseph Slocum said.

While the city would front the initial cost for purchasing Parcel No. 2, Marshall said the intent would be to later finance that purchase through the Downtown Tax Increment Financing district.

In the future, Marshall stated Parcel No. 2 could potentially be used for additional parking or restroom facilities.

Councilors authorized the purchase and sale agreement 3-0 with Councilors Mike Hurley and Eric Sanders absent.