LINCOLN, Maine — Fifth- and sixth-grade basketball teams from much of Maine will come to town this weekend for the Lincoln Recreation Department’s eighth annual Invitational Basketball Tournament. It is the biggest annual fundraiser for the town’s proposed recreation center off Route 6, officials said Thursday.
Eight boys teams and seven girls teams, about 150 players, will be at Mattanawcook Junior High School and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln for the tournament on Saturday and Sunday, Recreation Department Director Ron Weatherbee said.
“There are a decent number of tournaments around the state, but most are around Augusta and south of that,” Weatherbee said Wednesday. “There are relatively few to the north, so we get a good number of teams, but I think ours does well because of the competition. We get teams from all over, but mostly from within a two-hour radius. A lot of very good teams come.”
Thirteen teams from towns around Penobscot County played last year, one more than in 2008. About 30 volunteers donated 35 hours each to make the tournament successful, organizers said. It raised about $2,700 for the recreation center.
About $424,000 has been raised for the center since the Lincoln Community Recreational Center Trust Fund was created in 2002. The project’s biggest boost came when residents Addison Furrow Jr. and his mother, Sandra, sold the land for the center to the town in June 2007 at what town officials called a generously low price of $95,000.
Weatherbee, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin and an engineer are reviewing several proposals submitted on Feb. 19 by architects and engineers who want to develop tentative designs and cost estimates for the center, Goodwin said.
The review work probably will be finished in May, Goodwin said.
“There is other business that we are attending to right now. We are in budget preparations and we also have just completed a feasibility study for a new public works garage,” Goodwin said Thursday.
The Town Council will consider the one finalist suggested by the review committee before someone is hired.
If town voters approve financing the project — perhaps with a bond or loan — the firm would continue to work through the bid phase of the project and oversee center construction, Goodwin said.
The design phase will be paid from the trust fund, Goodwin said in her Weekly News newsletter Friday.
Absent a favorable town vote, a recreation center, long a goal of town officials, won’t be built. No construction timeline has been set, but residents have expressed frustration with the slow pace of fundraising, which pushed the council to approve the search for an architect or engineer.
A service donation worth as much as $20,000 from WT Gardner & Sons Inc. of Lincoln — the clearing of land and building of about 300 feet of road and drainage ditches — allowed town workers to create a lighted skating area, the first use of the land, in January.
A first design study done by Foresight Engineering of Lincoln in 2004 envisioned a fully equipped center for $6.7 million on 25 acres, but town officials said they want a more modest design.