RUMFORD — The Board of Selectmen voted 4-0 Thursday night to approve a five-year $35,000 loan to the recreation center.
Greater Rumford Community Center Director Bob Anderson asked the board to consider approving the loan. Referring to a letter to the board from Gary Dolloff, chairman of the GRCC Board of Directors, Anderson said the center needs the loan because it was forced to use operational funds to replace the furnace two years ago.
“We have juggled our finances for awhile, but we have never been able to recover financially,” Dolloff wrote.
Additionally, Anderson said the center has had several plumbing and maintenance problems requiring them to replace several pipes and to install new roof drains. They also had to install some fire-rated doors, emergency lighting, and lighted exit signs to meet safety codes.
“It’s been hard on us,” he said. “Since 1998, we’ve had a 60 percent decrease in our budget from the town, and we’ve been trying to keep up the best that we can.”
Dolloff, who wasn’t at the meeting, said in the letter that such budget cuts “not only impact our ability to provide recreational opportunities, but it also makes it impossible for us to properly maintain and update a large, aging facility.”
He said the center serves the local school system and several nonprofit groups “that provide crucial programs to our citizens.”
Selectmen did not discuss the matter.
Instead, Town Manager Carlo Puiia told the board that the town lawyer had drawn up an agreement for the loan, which he likened to a mortgage that would be placed on the building and held by the town. The interest is 5 percent, he said.
Puiia also said that if selectmen approve the loan, Anderson must take it back to the GRCC board, which must also approve it.
Selectman Brad Adley then motioned approval, which was seconded. It was a unanimous vote by Adley, acting Chairman Jeff Sterling, Jeremy Volkernick and Jolene Lovejoy. Greg Buccina was absent.
Earlier, during his selectmen’s report, Sterling commended the GRCC for its floor hockey program.
“It’s an absolute blast,” the floor hockey goalie said.
“It’s really fun to play, but it’s more fun to play it well. You have a lot of fun doing it and last night, in my case, I got to relive some prior triumphs. It was just a great time back then and it’s a great time now.”
He said he played floor hockey throughout his early life and college, which was more than 30 years ago.
Speaking of something Lovejoy said around Christmas, Sterling said, “In this town, in this area, there’s really something to do for everybody; you just have to find it.”