The Odd Fellows Hall at 19 Main Street in Stonington. FILE PHOTO

Stonington to get federal funding for historic building purchase

STONINGTON — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced Friday that she secured $394,000 in the Fiscal Year 2022 Housing Appropriations Bill to support the purchase of a waterfront parcel — the former Odd Fellows Hall — in Stonington.

As the ranking member and lead Republican on the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, Collins co-authored the bill.

The omnibus funding package passed the House and the Senate and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“I am so excited the town is able to receive this funding for this strategic parcel acquisition,” said Stonington Town Manager Kathleen Billings. “To be able to save the historic waterfront building from a private sale helps Stonington add to our working waterfront; meet ever demanding sewer needs; and keep this a community building resource for gatherings, cultural events and many other uses that ties into our diverse and interesting Main Street.”

Stonington will use this funding to purchase the Odd Fellows Hall, an architecturally significant feature of Main Street that was built in the 1800s. The property includes shore frontage that is adjacent to the skiff docking space on the municipal fish pier.

By acquiring this parcel, Stonington will expand the municipal sewer system, which is in need of expansion to keep up with expected business growth downtown and increase capacity for the fish pier, which faces more demand for use than it can currently meet. Additionally, Stonington plans to repurpose the Odd Fellows Hall building by incentivizing first-floor retail and exploring other economic development opportunities for the second floor.

“The purchase of the Odd Fellows Hall would provide Stonington with a unique opportunity to invest in the community’s wastewater infrastructure, preserve a historically significant building, expand the town’s vibrant working waterfront and retain public access to the shoreline,” Collins said. “The funding for this project will provide significant, lasting benefits to the entire community and the fishing industry. I strongly advocated for this investment that will support Maine’s hardworking fishermen and their families.”

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