WALDOBORO, Maine — Selectmen have given their backing to a plan to create a YMCA in the former A.D. Gray School.
Officials with the Central Lincoln County YMCA, based in Damariscotta, met Tuesday night with Waldoboro selectmen to discuss the possibility, according to Steve Cartwright, who chairs the board of selectmen. Following the presentation, selectmen gave their unanimous backing to the concept of a YMCA in the former school.
“Everyone is wildly enthusiastic about it,” Cartwright said. “This would have wonderful ripple effects, including economic development.”
Waldoboro Planning and Development Director Bill Najpauer agreed, saying it would bring more people to the downtown village.
“This would fill a definite need,” Najpauer said. He referred to a study done by the University of Southern Maine concerning childhood obesity, in which Waldoboro was one of the communities studied. The study noted the lack of recreational facilities in the town.
In a letter sent to Waldoboro officials by YMCA Executive Director Craig Wilson and Board of Directors President Mark Andrews, the organization listed some items needed to have the YMCA plan go forward. One was to have the selectmen and administration support the initiative and allow the YMCA to immediately begin raising money and recruiting volunteers in the community.
“Adequate recruitment of qualified local volunteers in coming months would be deemed essential to successfully launching the branch,” the letter from the YMCA states.
The town would give the school property, including tennis courts, to the YMCA for $1. The town also would need to remove any hazardous materials from the former school, including asbestos.
The YMCA also has asked the town to assign the Anne Gay Bailey Trust, valued at $350,000, to the YMCA to make improvements to the building for the branch to open.
The trust was created by a family with the proceeds to go for recreational purposes.
The proposal would still need to be approved by a vote of residents, likely to be held in November, and a vote of the full board of directors of the Central Lincoln County YMCA.
The A.D. Gray School closed in 2008. The property totals about 4 acres, with an adjacent 4 acres that consists of ball fields that Najpauer said the town would likely retain but coordinate usage with the YMCA.
The two-story brick building built in the 1930s is about 15,000 square feet.