DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Demolition work is under way at Central Hall on East Main Street, clearing the way for construction to convert the first floor of the late 19th century building into an adult day service center and fix up the upper floor so it remains an auditorium.
During a selectmen’s meeting on Jan. 9, Chris Maas of the Friends of Central Hall and Dr. Lesley Fernow of a steering committee for the adult day service center provided town officials with an update on the project.
Maas showed a number of pictures taken during the demolition work, including the stripping of walls and ceilings.
“Just this morning the abatement crew came in, and they are probably going to be done this week,” Maas said, explaining that the abatement will remove lead paint and asbestos. “This project is looking good in terms of getting done — the town is getting out ahead.”
He said that having the demolition done before the abatement work has saved time and money. Maas said that preliminary estimates for all of the substance removal ranged from $255,000 to $285,000, and actual costs now may be about a third of estimates.
“We have probably knocked a year off that development schedule,” he said. “The upper floor could be ready by Homecoming of next year.”
“We are going to have this Maine Highlands Senior Center and … it’s going to be here to get seniors involved in this community,” Fernow said. “It’s not just a program to renovate Central Hall and put someone in. It’s much more. We have a vision to make our community attractive and supportive for seniors.”
“Local towns know about [the project] and are very supportive of what we’re doing,” said Maas, who has visited other towns in the area to let them know that seniors beyond Dover-Foxcroft would be served at the center. “We’re working on a website and I’m sure we’re going to get in fundraising mode pretty quickly.”
Fernow said all organizations in the region that work with seniors are strongly encouraged to take part in the project.
In other business, the selectmen voted to give an emergency donation of $1,000 to the Living Word Ecumenical Food Cupboard after a request was made by Pastor Tom Bruce to help the cupboard cope with an approximate $4,000 reduction in federal funds as well as a decrease in donations.
“We serve 304 families from 19 towns, and that’s excluding Milo and Brownville, and 192 of them are directly from Dover-Foxcroft,” Bruce said.
“This is the first year we have asked any town for any help,” he said, adding that food drives have been vital for keeping the shelves stocked. “We do our best to make sure every dollar that comes in goes as far as it can.”