The 177-year-old Wilson Hall of Bucksport has faced demolition many times since 2000. Its latest possible savior hopes to straighten its tilted cupola as part of redeveloping the building as an elder care facility.

A state representative is running out of time to turn a 178-year-old former seminary in Bucksport into an elder care facility.

Rep. Richard Campbell, an Orrington-based Republican and full-time contractor, has had eight months to plot the revitalization of town-owned Wilson Hall on Franklin Street. The town council granted him the second of two three-month extensions July 12 to develop a plan, and find investors, in his proposal.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places but left derelict for about 20 years, Wilson Hall’s rebirth could be a big victory for a town rebounding from a paper mill closure three years ago. The hall came within a councilor’s vote of being razed in 2014 before residents eager to save the structure raised $5,000 for partial repairs, Campbell has said.

Campbell has maintained that revitalizing the building would be a daunting task, and councilors have been sympathetic, but there are many in town who feel that the building should be razed to make way for a park or other good use, Town Manager Sue Lessard said.

“The council was very clear this time that they would not be considering more time, that what they wanted to see letters of financial commitment, documentation that clearly identifies that this project is more than an idea, had legs and could walk,” Lessard said Monday. “Mr. Campbell told them that the three-month period would be sufficient.”

[Historic Bucksport hall’s fate hinges on $1 million rehab for eldercare]

Campbell said he has identified a service provider, Amy McLellan, to handle the Bucksport project. Campbell also built The McLellan, a former 44-bed converted nursing home converted to an 18-apartment aging-in-place facility in downtown Brunswick. McLellan is its owner.

“We are working as fast as possible,” Campbell said. “We have probably three sources of financing that have expressed an interest in [backing] the project, once they review the business plan and we have identified a service provider.”

[Bucksport council reluctantly seeking bids to demolish building in historic school that educated nearly 300 Civil War servicemen]

Another good omen for the project: A Bucksport economic development agency has expressed interest in writing grants for funding that would stabilize the building’s roof. This would give Campbell more time, Lessard said.

The council voted 5-2 July 12 to grant the second extension. Campbell will have to produce documentation showing that the project is viable and has at least some financial backing, Lessard said.

“If that kind of documentation doesn’t happen,” Lessard said, “then it is likely that they [councilors] will not grant a further extension.”

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