June 23, 2018
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Houlton moves forward with long-delayed gym floor repair

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

HOULTON, Maine — For several years, the town has tried to set aside money to repair the aged and warped gymnasium floor at the Gentle Memorial Building, a popular play site for children and adults.

Until recently, each attempt to come up with the money had failed.

But in March, the town secured a three-year, $200,000 low-interest loan from Katahdin Trust Co. for the purpose of completing several projects, including the 65-year-old gym floor

During their meeting on Monday night, town councilors voted unanimously to approve a $51,800 bid to replace the floor. The job will go to Space Design Systems in Kennebunk.

The project, which officials estimated would cost approximately $65,000, has been on the town’s to-do list for more than five years. The Gentle Memorial Building is equipped with a gymnasium where children and adults play basketball, along with pool tables, sports equipment and more. While basketball is what most often takes place in the gym, the floor also is used as a walking track in the winter, as a site for events such as craft fairs, and as the town’s polling place.

Over time, the multiple uses has led to the floor becoming scratched and warped. The town set aside a chunk of money for some of the repair costs several years ago, but then put the work off as it struggled to come up with the remainder of the needed funds.

On Monday, Town Manager Douglas Hazlett said that the town likely will have to replace the bleachers that sit courtside as well.

“The bleachers aren’t in the best shape,” he told councilors. “And the bid is low enough that we will have enough saved to do the bleachers.”

Hazlett said that Space Design Systems has a “great deal of experience.” Councilors were in favor of the project, citing the gym floor as a safety issue.

The project likely will begin later this summer, according to Hazlett.

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