June 22, 2018
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Lincoln group breaks down rec center building timeline

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

LINCOLN, Maine — The recreation center building committee has begun reducing into smaller, more affordable chunks and phases a very preliminary design for a center that had a price tag of about $7 million, officials said Thursday.

Committee members who met earlier this week will form a subcommittee charged with marketing and fundraising for the center construction effort. The Town Council is due to act on the recreation center fundraising committee proposal Monday, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said.

The subcommittee initiative demands creative and hardworking volunteers. It might be the most important effort yet connected to the often-dormant 8-year-old effort to build a recreation center, Goodwin said.

“All they will do is fundraise,” Goodwin said of the subcommittee members. “In the past, [fundraising] was given to the rec committee, but that committee has other things to do. People who really want to see this center take off and who are really willing to put in the work, this will be the committee they want to jump on. It will be up to this committee to raise a lot of money.”

The Lincoln community’s desires were measured years ago in residents’ survey that determined that a swimming pool, gymnasium and track were among the desired features of a new center, which residents seemed to approve of heartily.

As of Dec. 31, the Community Recreational Center Trust Fund created in 2002 had a balance of $370,129 — plus the fundraising trust account’s $36,709, for a total of $406,839. The Furrow family of Lincoln also sold 10.6 acres off Route 6 to the town in June 2007 at what officials called a generously low price, $95,000. W.T. Gardner and Sons of Lincoln donated about $20,000 worth of road and drainage construction.

But the effort to build the center had seemed to stall yet again until the council formed the building committee last April with a charge to guide the proposed center through engineering and topographical studies with an eye toward preparing a building proposal, complete with a price tag, for voters to consider.

No referendum dates have been set. Officials have said the center won’t be built until voters approve it and that it will be funded by grants and donations as much as possible. Previous fundraising efforts “were small-scale, and we need a big-scale fundraising campaign to build this,” Goodwin said.

Committee members who met Monday decided to break into components the construction effort to make it more affordable and manageable, member Paul Labrecque said.

The project’s designers, Plymouth Engineering Inc., are breaking into phases the building’s infrastructure, building and field construction to help the project generate momentum and give fundraisers and grant writers targets to shoot for, Labrecque said.

“The building is designed so you can add on to it in phases gradually, over time,” Labrecque said Thursday. “We took out the pool, and that’s a couple million bucks right there.”

The committee will meet when Plymouth returns with the phased construction estimates. No new date has been set.

Building committee members hope to use tax-increment financing money generated by the Rollins Mountain industrial wind site off Route 6 to help pay for construction of the infrastructure — plumbing and other utilities — to the building, plus its athletic fields. That source could provide a huge boost to the project, Labrecque said.

Having Plymouth’s design also will help the town qualify for grants or private foundation donations, Goodwin said. Such sources usually require detailed designs to review.

Labrecque said the town probably would have to settle the question of whether to build a new public works garage in a referendum scheduled for March 1 before the rec center fundraising effort would really get going.

In the meantime, anyone interested in joining the fundraising committee or otherwise contributing with in-kind service donations, money or other efforts should contact Town Clerk Shelly Crosby at 794-3372 or visit the town office, Goodwin said.

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