Builder joins rec center committee

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff
Posted March 31, 2010, at 11:23 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — Paul Labrecque wants Lincoln to have a recreation center, he said Wednesday.

“We are talking an indoor pool, walking track, probably a therapeutic pool … an indoor basketball court. Everything is indoors,” Labrecque said. “I am anxious to get going, if the council says go.”

That’s why the retired 62-year-old builder, who ran Master Contractors Inc. of Lincoln from 1981 to 2007, is volunteering for a committee the Town Council is expected to approve at its April 12 meeting.

The committee’s charge: to guide the proposed center through engineering and topographical studies of the 10.6 acres of town-owned land off Route 6 with an eye toward preparing a building proposal, complete with price tag, for voters to consider, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said.

Labrecque hopes the proposal can be ready by Election Day. Goodwin doubts it.

“We have no time frame right now. It’s dependent on our workload. Right now we are in the middle of preparing the [annual town] budget and the public works garage that we have to replace is a bigger priority,” Goodwin said.

“There isn’t an urgency for the rec center like there is for the garage,” she added.

About $424,000 has been raised since the Lincoln Community Recreational Center Trust Fund was created in 2002.

The project’s biggest boost came when the Furrow family of Lincoln sold the 10.6 acres to the town in June 2007 at what officials called a generously low price, $95,000.

Labrecque, Goodwin and other town officials have reviewed applications from 14 engineering firms interested in doing the studies. They interviewed three finalists. Goodwin will have a recommendation for councilors on April 12.

The trust fund will pay for the design and studies. If town voters approve financing the project — perhaps with a bond, federal or state grant money, or loan — the engineering firm would oversee the center’s construction, Goodwin said.

A design study done by Foresight Engineering of Lincoln in 2004 envisioned a fully equipped center for $6.7 million on 25 acres, but town officials said they want a more modest design. The center won’t be built unless voters approve.

A service donation worth as much as $20,000 from WT Gardner & Sons Inc. of Lincoln allowed town workers to create a lighted skating area, the first use of the land, in January.

Labrecque’s experience made him an ideal candidate for the committee, Goodwin said.

She is asking a half-dozen residents, all with appropriate expertise, to serve on the panel.

“Everybody that submitted a proposal was qualified,” Labrecque said. “The question is who is better qualified to work with the town. It’s not who is the best. It’s who is the best for this project and for the town.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/03/31/news/builder-joins-rec-center-committee/ printed on July 24, 2014