Gazebo panel mulls offer

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LIVERMORE FALLS – With the town paying for liability insurance for the gazebo and covering some grounds maintenance, selectmen suggested Monday that the gazebo and maintenance of the building and land it sits on be included in the town budget.

The gazebo is not owned by the town. It was built with a grant with no money from the town. It’s overseen by the Livermore Falls Gazebo Committee because years ago selectmen didn’t want to take responsibility for it but did agree to put $500 a year in the budget for the committee to use, committee member Ron Chadwick said Monday.

The gazebo has been a draw to the downtown since it was built in 1990 with volunteer labor and donations. The committee schedules bands and other entertainment throughout June, July and August. Committee members also put up decorations, volunteer their time to do maintenance on it and other tasks associated with it.

Already concerts have been scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday nights during the summer months, committee member Maxine Bailey said Monday. Some bands want to start in May but she doesn’t know how the weather will be.

Town Manager Martin Puckett said he was trying to find a way to make communication smoother when someone needs information about the concerts or if someone wants to use the gazebo.

Selectmen’s Chairman Ken Jacques said the schedule could be posted on the town’s Web site and the use of the gazebo could be arranged through the town office.

The committee already does the arranging but is willing to have more people use it, Bailey said.

The land the gazebo sits on and the parking lot used as a municipal lot is leased from the company that owns the bank building. When the gazebo was built, the land belonged to Livermore Falls Trust Co. and the town entered a 99-year lease for use of the property in exchange for the land not being taxed, Jacques said.

The bank’s custodians had kept the grounds mowed.

The bank building and land was sold within the past two years and the town was offered the property for $10,000, unbeknownst to selectmen, Jacques said, because the former town manager never brought the proposal to the board.

Both Jacques and Selectman Russell Flagg said the gazebo should fall under the town’s care since the town insures it and the town’s custodian mowed the lawn some last year.

“You guys do a fine job,” Flagg said. “There is nothing wrong with the committee.”

But for liability purposes and spending taxpayers’ money on the building and grounds, it should be owned by the town and be in the town’s budget, both Flagg and Jacques said.

If the town was to take care of the gazebo and the land, Jacques said, then the committee wouldn’t have to raise money to mow it or for other maintenance projects.

Code Enforcement Officer Paula Coombs has joined the committee, Bailey said, and will put the schedule on the Web site.

Bailey said the committee will meet to discuss selectmen’s offer to include the maintenance and upkeep of the gazebo in the town’s budget and get back to the board.

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