Dover-Foxcroft hearing on grant for historic hall

Posted Jan. 08, 2011, at 1:15 a.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Dover-Foxcroft selectmen have scheduled a public hearing on a proposed grant application for Central Hall renovations at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 10, in the municipal building meeting room.

Since senior citizens gather around noon Monday for Senior Network at the municipal building, and since the grant, if awarded, would be used to convert part of Central Hall into an adult day service program and senior center, it made sense to hold it at that time, Dover-Foxcroft Town Manager Jack Clukey said Friday.

“We thought it would be easier for seniors to get to it when it’s daylight for one thing, but also we have seniors here anyway at 11 a.m. for Senior Network so they can stay here for it,” Clukey said.

Town officials are working with Friends of Central Hall to secure a $350,000 public facilities Community Development Block Grant to renovate Central Hall in order to provide the senior services. The grant application must be submitted by Jan. 21.

Chris Maas of the Friends of Central Hall said the all-volunteer organization has been working with the Eastern Area Agency on Aging, Penquis and the Charlotte White Center on plans for the adult day service center. Maas said Friday the group hopes to design the center to be similar to Friendship Cottage in Blue Hill and have it operated by the Charlotte White Center. Representatives of the Blue Hill organization have been invited to speak at the public hearing, he said.

The first of the two-phase proposal is to convert Central Hall’s ground floor into an adult center, with an elevator, at a cost of $620,000. Phase II would involve $150,000-$200,000 in improvements to the second floor, where functions such as dances and meetings could continue to be held.

The town owns the historic building and the Friends organization is paying the expenses of the hall to keep it in operation. The organization also is seeking grants for the building’s renovation. The Friends organization has raised about $50,000 for its operation, Maas said.

The public facilities grant, if awarded, has a local match, which the organization will pay, Clukey said. “The town isn’t going to have to put up the match,” he said. The town, however, would administer the grant, as is the case with all Community Development Block Grants.

Clukey said the town probably would convey the building to Friends of Central Hall because one of the grants the town applied for is a brownfields grant through the Department of Economic and Community Development for the removal of asbestos and lead paint. The applicant for that was the Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society, because the town was ineligible for that particular grant. If the grant is awarded before the funds are expended, the town would have to convey it to the historical society, he said. Once the abatement work was done, the society would be expected to convey it back to the town, Clukey said.

“The idea is the town would continue to keep this building as a town building,” Clukey said.

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