LINCOLN, Maine — Thirteen fifth- and sixth-grade teams will play in a basketball tournament next weekend that is the largest annual fundraiser for a proposed recreation center off Route 6, town officials said Friday.
Eight boys and five girls teams from Orrington, Houlton, East Grand, Hampden, Millinocket and East Millinocket will be among those scheduled to play in the ninth annual Lincoln Recreation Department Basketball Tournament, department Director Ron Weatherbee said.
The two-day tournament will fill the gymnasiums at Mattanawcook Academy and Mattanawcook Junior High School, with play running in both places on March 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The tournament usually draws well, Weatherbee said, because its teams usually get to play at least three games, with a round-robin on March 5 and championships a day later.
“They are coming a reasonable distance,” Weatherbee said. “Usually this is a well-run tournament and everybody is guaranteed a three-games minimum, whereas with a lot of tournaments it’s a double elimination.”
Fifteen teams played last year, 13 in 2009 and 12 in 2008. The tournaments filled the gyms to capacity and about 30 volunteers typically donate about 35 hours each to make the event successful, organizers said.
Residents who support the proposed center should support the tournament, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said.
“It is also a good opportunity for the area towns to get together and the kids to interact and get to know each other,” Goodwin said.
The tournament typically raises about $2,400 to $3,700, said Town Clerk Shelly Crosby.
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 $406,838. More up-to-date figures weren’t available on Friday.
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, for use with a center. W.T. Gardner and Sons of Lincoln donated about $20,000 worth of road and drainage construction.
The Town Council unanimously approved on Feb. 14 the creation of a committee charged with creating a large-scale fundraising campaign to raise $4 million or $5 million for the proposed center, which if built would be located on the 10.6 acres off Route 6.
A preliminary estimate of the center’s cost was about $7 million, but the recreation center building committee has begun reducing that design into phases and more affordable components. That work continues.
Anyone interested in donating to or volunteering for the tournament can call the Recreation Department at 794-6548 or organizer Nancy Gioud at 794-5556, Weatherbee said. Contributions also can be made during the tournament. Anyone interested in joining the recreation committee can call the Town Office at 794-3372.