Reprieve for Farmington Diner?

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A January 18th newspaper artricle from the Lewiston, Maine Sun-Times mentioned that the Farmington Diner (Farmington, Maine) whose sight is slated to be developed into a new Rite Aid Pharmacy may be saved by the former owners. here is the text of this article….

Ex-owners offer to move diner, store it at home

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Friday, January 18, 2008

FARMINGTON – A last-ditch effort to keep the Farmington Diner from demolition is being undertaken.

Former owners Rose and Mike Grimanis have agreed to purchase the diner and move it to their home on Prescott Street to save it, owner Russell Wood said Thursday.

But, the purchase is dependent on the town’s Planning Board and a contractor’s willingness to give them extra time since the board won’t meet until Feb. 11. The date is eight days beyond the 30 days requested by Wood in his sales contract with Rite Aid. The sale took place on Jan. 3.

“The contractor is willing to give us more time so I’ll be filing papers for the Planning Board,” Rose Grimanis said Thursday. “We’re hoping someone else will come and take it. This is a last-ditch attempt to make sure the building doesn’t get destroyed.”

The couple will need a flood plain review by the Planning Board in order to store it at their home on Prescott Street, Code Enforcement Officer Stephen Kaiser said. The length of time it will be stored and neighbors’ concerns, he expects, will also be addressed.

While the couple have retired, she said, they are considering eventually moving it to another location to set up and lease, but with the present economy they are weighing all factors.

“I feel like a lot of mom and pop operations are giving way to big business. We’re losing a lot of our cultural heritage, and this community icon may go,” she said, explaining why she would consider undertaking the move. The couple retired from the diner after they sold it to Wood. Michael was there for 23 years, and she spent 20 years working with him, she said.

“This was what it would take. Someone who loved the diner and would put up the money to keep it from being destroyed,” Wood said. He talked with Grimanis on Wednesday and was told they were going to try to buy it in order to preserve it, he said.

If this doesn’t work then he’s going to have to let it go and it will be demolished, he said.

Another interested party called the Code Enforcement Office this week, Kaiser said, with a unique idea to move, refurbish and operate the diner. But that person would also need to go before the Planning Board for a site review, he said. Kaiser could not disclose any more information until an application has been filed with the town.

Rite-Aid developer Bruce Carrier was willing Thursday to give the extra time for the meeting to be held. After talking with Kaiser, he said he understood there is another interested party and feels the issue can be worked out.

The metal-sheathed building was constructed to resemble a railroad car and served as the Lewiston Diner before being bought and moved to the Intervale in Farmington in the 1960s by Hubert Stewart, Melvin Bard of Farmington has said. Stewart moved his hamburger stand to the back of the site, made a kitchen out of it and put the diner up front, he said.

It’s about 12 feet wide and 40 feet long.

One option that had been discussed was having it go to the American Diner Museum in Rhode Island.

 The Farmington is a unique diner that looks to be a severely alterred Mountain View diner. A clue is the fact that it has Mountain View’s trademark “cow-catcher” corners on the front. But everything else inside and out does not look like anything that came out of the Mountain View factory.

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