Public hearing set on Odd Fellows Hall renovations in Norway

Jan. 24—NORWAY — The Planning Board will hold a public hearing Thursday to consider an application to refurbish the Odd Fellows Hall on Main Street.

The plan is being presented by Mike Haines.

The Odd Fellows building, located at 380 Main St. and listed in 2013 by Maine Preservation as one of the 10 most endangered historic buildings in the state, has been vacant for more than 22 years, Haines told the Planning Board two weeks ago in discussing the application.

The plan calls for 14 units of affordable housing at 80% average income level of Oxford County, two Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible housing and 1,800 square feet of commercial space on the first floor. The housing portion of the project will be 100% funded by Maine Housing, Haines said.

"The project is to reuse the structure of the Odd Fellows building and integrate into the working fabric of Norway 's historic district," Haines said at the previous Planning Board meeting.

He added that the building requires extensive renovations, and the street level would be rebuilt to its original appearance.

Apartments would be located in the basement, second and third floors, while the commercial space will occupy the first floor.

Built in 1893, Odd Fellows Hall once housed businesses and offices, including the district court and jail, as well as a ceremonial space for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge No. 16. The basement and first floor were built in 1893 after fire destroyed much of the downtown business district. The other floors were added in 1910. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Multiple owners have attempted to rehabilitate the structure. Much of the inside was gutted in 2008 before that owner lost the building to foreclosure a couple of years later.

Broken windows and pigeons have plagued the structure.

Odd Fellows Hall sits next to the Norway Opera House.

The Planning Board meeting is scheduled Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Town Office.