Houlton to explore recreation proposals

Posted April 30, 2009, at 8:19 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:48 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — The Gentle Memorial Building is an asset in town, offering children and adults the opportunity to play basketball, take aerobics classes and enjoy activities such as dance and science camps.

But some residents have approached the Town Council with ideas about offering more activities inside the sprawling two-story building. The council plans to consider the ideas during a future workshop.

At a meeting earlier this week, Councilor Sue Tortello said she felt the council should talk more about comments and suggestions made to councilors regarding improving the Gentle Memorial Building through repairs, expansion or even building a new facility.

Such a move could outfit the building with additional equipment that will lure more people to the facility.

The idea is barely in the discussion phase, but Tortello told fellow councilors she felt it was time to move forward.

“We need to talk about what we have now and what we would like to see,” she said during the meeting.

Council Chairman Paul Cleary agreed it was a discussion the group should have. He suggested holding a workshop in the near future.

Cleary said the council and the community already face a serious roadblock — the cost of undertaking such a project.

“That is going to be the biggest factor,” he said.

Councilor Paul Romanelli agreed, noting the town already has decided to take out a $1 million bond to pay for road repair — money that must be repaid in the next 20 years.

“It would be nice to get grants and do some fundraising for this,” Romanelli said.

Councilor Walter Goodrich said he wanted to go further than just thinking about the overall cost. He suggested the town come up with plans and architectural drawings with cost estimates.

“That could help us get some grants and loans,” he said.

Councilors agreed to schedule the workshop, but no date had been set as of Thursday, according to Town Clerk Cathy O’Leary.

jlbdn@ainop.com

538-6567

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