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Council to vote on $1.5M Knowlton Park

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ELLSWORTH — Construction work at Knowlton Park could begin in as soon as two weeks pending a positive vote by the City Council next week.

At a special meeting on Monday, Sept. 29, the council is set to accept a proposal from Atlantic Landscape Construction Inc. for the construction and oversight of what will officially be known as the Dr. Charles C. Knowlton Community Park.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. and will be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

The total cost of the project stands at $1,482,205. That includes a contingency line of 10 percent on top of the actual cost, a standard practice for projects such as this. City officials said not all of the contingency line may be used.

Donations, pledges and grants to the park project total $668,499, and the city has already contributed $140,000 in general tax revenue. Tax increment financing funds, in-kind donations and interest income totals $93,505.

The $140,000 in city money has already been spent on the removal of asbestos from and demolition of the former Knowlton School, as well as engineering costs. Design development for the park has cost $96,298.35.

When the money that has been spent so far is subtracted from the money that has been raised, it leaves a balance of $816,500. The city will borrow that money upfront, and then future revenue from the economic development tax increment financing (TIF) district will be used to pay back what is borrowed.

Though the TIF money is tax revenue, it is only from properties within the designated district and has already been earmarked for the Knowlton Park project. That means city residents will not see an increase in their tax bills as a result of the project.

City Manager Michelle Beal noted that nearly half of the overall project cost was covered by grants, pledges and donations from the community.

“Which I think is fabulous,” she said. “We’re very happy.”

Beal said the community support for the project reflects that the park is “near and dear to everyone’s heart.”

“They wanted it, and they showed that they wanted it,” she said.

If construction does begin on Oct. 8, Beal said crews will finish as much work as possible this year and then resume work in the spring.

“Hopefully, we’ll have it open by July 1,” she said.

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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