Dover-Foxcroft selectmen seek funds for youth competitive sports

Posted Aug. 10, 2011, at 8:45 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A second attempt to get town approval to fund recreational opportunities for children in grades three through six will be made during a special town meeting next week.

During a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, in the Morton Avenue Municipal Building, residents will be asked to raise and appropriate $32,800 to fund such competitive sports as soccer, field hockey, basketball, softball, baseball and cheering. The programming would shift from the Piscataquis Regional YMCA, where it was held in the past, to Foxcroft Academy.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to work with the academy — they bring a lot of expertise,” Dover-Foxcroft Town Manager Jack Clukey said Wednesday. “Foxcroft Academy has said over and over again they’re very committed to high-quality youth sports programs. We’re excited about the opportunity.”

In past years, the Piscataquis Regional YMCA has operated the town’s recreational programs, but in July residents voted down the YMCA’s request of $32,800 to continue the offerings. Some residents cited a lack of communication from the YMCA for their nonsupport. That funding rejection prompted the YMCA to drop most of its competitive youth sports, Clukey said.

After the town meeting vote, Erika Weidner, YMCA’s executive director, said the YMCA had to adjust internally and move forward. She said there had never been a contract with the town for what the YMCA was supposed to offer.

After the YMCA dropped most of its competitive sports offerings, Foxcroft Academy stepped up to the plate with its offer, Clukey said.

If the funds are approved, Foxcroft Academy will operate the programs for the town at a fee of $24,000 for the year and will use the facilities of both the academy and town. The remainder of the funds will be used to upgrade municipal recreational facilities, such as the ballfied and the hoops in the town gymnasium, Clukey said. The programs will be operated by Tim Smith, FA’s athletic director.

A couple of public forums have been held in the last two weeks, including one Monday night, in which town officials and residents discussed the future of the town’s competitive sports programs. With the exception of Monday’s meeting, the forums have been very well attended, according to Clukey.

The YMCA will continue to offer its own youth programs funded by user fees with no town funds involved, but it will not offer competitive sports with the exception of its swim programs, according to Clukey. Therefore, there will be no duplication of efforts, he said.

Although residents approved a municipal budget earlier this summer, taxes have not yet been committed, so Clukey said the $32,800 will be included in this year’s tax commitment if the funds are approved.

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