Fundraising to begin for revised Presque Isle community center

Posted July 24, 2012, at 5:09 p.m.
Last modified July 24, 2012, at 6:15 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — In 2006, the community began sketching plans to replace the 7,200-square-foot William V. Haskell Community Center in order to give youths and adults a better place to gather, be active, hold meetings and conduct other activities.

But the downturn in the economy hampered those efforts, and during a City Council meeting earlier this month, Chris Beaulieu, director of Presque Isle Recreation and Parks Department, said that a new vision for a replacement structure has been drafted.

The new building will be smaller and less costly. Fundraising will help generate the money to finance it.

The existing Haskell center on Main Street was built in 1944 and has a gym and a lounge as well as office space.

The new center will be located on 8 acres on Chapman Street. The site was chosen because of its closeness to the downtown, the outdoor pool, the bicycle path and Riverside Park, which is where the department holds its soccer program.

The original architectural plan for the new facility called for a $10 million, 37,000-square-foot, two-story facility.

“We put the brakes on that due to the bad economy,” Beaulieu said during the recent meeting. He said the new plan wouldn’t cost as much but would maintain the look and features that people wanted to see in the updated center.

The revised plans call for a $7 million, 30,000-square-foot, single-story facility that will feature a walking track, gymnasium, locker, meeting rooms, space for citizen groups and other amenities.

The city secured funding several years ago to clean up the land and make sure it is free from contaminants. The formal fundraising process is ready to begin, Beaulieu said during the meeting.

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