2018-01-04 / Front Page

City swaps downtown properties

By Grant McPherson Staff Writer


Williams Court Park is located at the end of Williams Court and at the corner of South Street and Green streets. Adams has photos of children climbing a wall of the park next to his property, which is also next to a parking lot for his tenants. (Grant McPherson photo) Williams Court Park is located at the end of Williams Court and at the corner of South Street and Green streets. Adams has photos of children climbing a wall of the park next to his property, which is also next to a parking lot for his tenants. (Grant McPherson photo) BIDDEFORD – The city will exchange properties with a resident near Williams Court Park to make access safer and give neighbors more privacy.

Dan Adams, a Biddeford resident, said that since Williams Court Park’s construction in 2010 people have walked through his property at 49 Center St. to access the park. He said among the many concerns he has about people accessing the park through his property, one of his biggest is that children will often sled down the path and into the driveway where his tenants park their cars. He said he was concerned an accident could occur and he could be held liable. Adams owns and rents out an apartment building adjacent to 49 Center St. He said he’s lost tenants because people walking to and from the park have been noisy and touched his tenants’ vehicles as they walk by.


A sign that displays park rules was placed next to Dan Adam’s property at 49 Center St. He said the sign made the area by his property look like an official entrance to the park, even though to access the park, one would have to cross his property in order to do so. Adams said he’s been concerned about people walking across his property since the first portion of the park was built in 2010. (Grant McPherson photo) A sign that displays park rules was placed next to Dan Adam’s property at 49 Center St. He said the sign made the area by his property look like an official entrance to the park, even though to access the park, one would have to cross his property in order to do so. Adams said he’s been concerned about people walking across his property since the first portion of the park was built in 2010. (Grant McPherson photo) Adams purchased 49 Center St. in 2006, which is assessed at $59,900. The city will give 57 Pike St. to Adams, which is assessed at $33,300. Adams will also pay for the abatement, demolition and stabilization of soil at 49 Center St., which is expected to cost between $12,000 and $15,000. Adams said he plans to renovate 57 Pike St. into a single family home.


Dan Adams, Biddeford resident and owner of 49 Center St., will exhange his property with the city for the municipally owned 57 Pike St., if the city council approves. The building at 49 Center St., to Adams' right, will be demolished. Adams stands at the top of the path that leads from his property to Williams Court Park. Adams said the path is unsafe during the winter and his tenants in the adjacent property would like more privacy. (Grant McPherson photo) Dan Adams, Biddeford resident and owner of 49 Center St., will exhange his property with the city for the municipally owned 57 Pike St., if the city council approves. The building at 49 Center St., to Adams' right, will be demolished. Adams stands at the top of the path that leads from his property to Williams Court Park. Adams said the path is unsafe during the winter and his tenants in the adjacent property would like more privacy. (Grant McPherson photo) “There is a constant flow of traffic through my driveway,” Adams said. “Although it’s not an official entrance to the park, the only way to get through the park from the southern side is through my driveway. The city even put up signs that are only viewable from my driveway. The city liked the idea of having a nice public entrance to the park but there wasn’t money in the budget to purchase the property. That’s when we came up with a creative solution that will cost the city no money.”

Linda Waters, community development coordinator, said the city could eventually build a park entrance but there are no plans to at this time. Adams will also retain a seven-foot portion of 49 Center St. to allow his tenants in the adjacent building to park. Adams will pay for installation of a fence between his tenants’ driveway and the rest of 49 Center St. Waters said the taxes and deed registration of the new house that Adams will renovate on Pike Street will be new revenue for the city.

City Manager Jim Bennett said the demolition of 49 Center St. and a new park entrance, if it is built, would fit in with the city’s continued downtown economic growth.

“It’s a good deal for everybody,” Waters said. “The city someday wants to build a nice entrance to the park there but for right now it will be safer for everybody. With the revitalization going on on Center Street, it will be a nice addition there.”

Adams said the pathway to the park next to his property is particularly dangerous in winter, as the snow is not cleared and the path is quite steep. He said he’s been to council meetings regarding the park since it was built almost eight years ago. While it has been a long process, Adams said he is grateful for the city’s cooperation.

“It’s been great working with the city,” he said. “It’s a complicated enough trade. I’ve been impressed with the help of Linda and others at city hall who have been able to look at it creatively and works towards a common goal.”

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