Kennebec Arsenal

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Kennebec Arsenal
Kennebec Arsenal, August (Kennebec County, Maine).jpg
Kennebec Arsenal
Kennebec Arsenal is located in Maine
Kennebec Arsenal
Location Augusta, Maine
Coordinates 44°18′30″N 69°46′10″W / 44.30833°N 69.76944°W / 44.30833; -69.76944Coordinates: 44°18′30″N 69°46′10″W / 44.30833°N 69.76944°W / 44.30833; -69.76944
Architectural style No Style Listed
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 70000046
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 25, 1970[1]
Designated NHLD February 16, 2000[2]

Kennebec Arsenal is a historic arsenal and National Historic Landmark District on Arsenal Street in Augusta, Maine.

The Arsenal arose from a border dispute early in the 19th Century, and was garrisoned until turned over to the State of Maine in 1905. The State for many years housed mental health patients there.[3]

The arsenal was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and designated a Landmark in 2000.[4]

In 2006, the arsenal was slated for renovation,[5] however no work on the landmark has taken place, and vandals have broken windows and sprayed graffiti. The current owner, Main Street I LLC, has stated they are still committed to the renovation work, but the poor economy has hampered their efforts.[3]

The Maine Attorney General's office notified the firm in a letter dated September 19, 2012 that it would sue for return of the property to the state if steps were not taken by October 1 to secure the property from vandals, thieves, and the weather.[3] The AG's office later gave the firm a three-week delay after the firm's owner, Thomas Niemann, began to have discussions with them about the future of the property. Niemann had requested a meeting with Maine Governor Paul LePage about the property, but the request was declined.[6]

Despite further discussions, few if any steps were taken to protect the property, according to Department of Administrative and Financial Services Commissioner Sawin Millett. He claimed Niemann has failed to provide either a comprehensive plan to maintain the property or a performance bond to guarantee the financial ability to do so per the historical covenants on the property. As a result, the Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit on April 24, 2013, against Niemann's company in Kennebec County Superior Court seeking return of the property to the State. The State claims that the lack of maintenance and protection of the property has resulted in over $1 million in damage. Niemann, through his attorney, still seeks to work with the State to improve the Arsenal site.[7]

In his response to the State's lawsuit, Niemann denied virtually all the allegatons in the suit, and is seeking dismissal of the suit and his attorney's fees paid by the State. An Augusta resident employed by Niemann stated that a $12,000 roof was installed on the gatehouse, and electricity has been restored to at least some of the site, enabling security cameras to function.[8]

By November 9, 2013, five of the six buildings on the site had new roofs or were in the process of getting them. Windows have also been sealed or boarded up temporarily, along with other work. Niemann has also revealed some of his plans for the site, including renovating the gatehouse into offices for his firm, and renovating the barracks into two residential units and office space. State officials, while stating they are pleased with the repairs, have said the lawsuit will continue. The State has agreed to extend deadlines related to the suit as repairs are made, as well as to participate in supervised mediation sessions. Niemann's Augusta representative has stated that the lawsuit is hampering progress with the site, but it is hoped that as more work is done interest will grow in using the site.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ "Kennebec Arsenal". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  3. ^ a b c "Maine threatens lawsuit over neglected historic site". Associated Press article. Kennebec Journal. 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  4. ^ NHL Listing info, accessed June 23, 2008
  5. ^ Glenn Adams (2008-04-16). "Forgotten arsenal gets a new shot at vitality". Associated Press article. The Boston Globe / Boston.Com. Retrieved 2008-05-18. [dead link]
  6. ^ Keith Edwards (2012-10-05). "Kennebec Arsenal owner gets 3-week lawsuit delay from Maine AG". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  7. ^ Betty Adams (2013-04-24). "State files complaint against Kennebec Arsenal owner, wants site returned". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 2013-04-24. 
  8. ^ Keith Edwards (2013-06-29). "Kennebec Arsenal owner denies neglect; partners claim progress in protecting property". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  9. ^ Keith Edwards (2013-11-09). "Kennebec Arsenal buildings in Augusta get new roofs". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-09.