This Is Where They May Build The New Hancock County Courthouse
By today's standards, the current Hancock County courthouse on State Street in Ellsworth has become "insecure", with far too many entry points into the building. Not to mention that offices are inconveniently spread throughout the building making the process of working together a hassle.
So, apparently State of Maine legal types want a new courthouse in Ellsworth, one that would replace the current one that was built in 1930, according to an article in today's Bangor Daily News.
The three Hancock County Commissioners, one of which is former Hancock County Sheriff Bill Clark, have their eyes set on the Ruth Foster property which is a little further up the hill from the current courthouse on State Street.
After building the current jail on the side of a cliff overlooking the Union River twenty-some years ago, they feel that building a new courthouse on the very level next door Foster property would be optimum, and that shuffling prisoners to and from the jail to a new courthouse located there would be convenient.
When it comes to the Ruth Foster property Mr. Clark told the BDN, "“We’ve always looked at that with a bunch of envy.”
Business woman Ruth Foster, 92, who is both a former State Legislator and Mayor of Ellsworth closed down her Main Street shop in 2019 after being in business there for 35 years. Ms. Foster is a beloved resident of Ellsworth and is still very active in the community, recently leading the way in replacing and maintaining the many crab apple trees that surround City Hall.
As of this writing she has not been approached about selling her 5,700 square foot home, which has been assessed by the City for tax purposes at $488,400 and has a yearly tax bill of $8,700.
“I don’t know what they’re going to do,” she told the BDN.
If the State were to purchase the Foster property then the District Attorney's Office next door located in the old WDEA radio station house would more than likely move into the old courthouse, Commissioner Bill Clark speculated, as that historic house is very expensive to operate and maintain.