Voters asked to give property for museum

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LIVERMORE FALLS – Selectmen have agreed to put the donation of about 2 acres of town-owned property to the Western Maine Paper and Heritage Museum before voters in June.

If voters approved, the site would be the home of the first museum in the state that would target preserving and showcasing the history of the pulp and paper industry.

The board directed Town Manager Martin Puckett Monday to gather information about the potential donation and to draft a warrant article for the property on Foundry Road.

The parcel is an unused piece of land near the recreation field, located about 500 to 750 feet up from the skate park, Chairman Kenny Jacques said at the Selectmen’s meeting.

Town sewer and water are available, he said.

The land is closer to the road behind the municipal building and believed to be out of flood danger, Puckett said.

A group of people interested in the history of papermaking in western Maine began working in 2002 to record and preserve that history. The group, known as Western Maine Pulp and Heritage Museum Committee, is raising money to buy preservation materials and has already had items donated including a 10-piece handcrafted model train.

Puckett said during Monday’s selectmen’s meeting that the bike path would run along the Androscoggin River and the museum would be a tourism attraction to entice people to the area.

Museums such as the one proposed, Puckett said, could bring in $500,000 a year to the local economy.

Puckett said the museum would not interfere with any plans to revive the ice skating rink if that were to be considered.

The design for the main structure of the museum is based on the architecture of the Umbagog Mill, which was along the shores of the Androscoggin River in the 1880s in Livermore. The museum committee has earned the grants to build the museum.

Property bids

In other business, selectmen also accepted two high bids of $650 from Allen Adams for town-owned, tax-acquired property for an nonbuildable lot on Heritage Road and two lots combined to make a buildable lot on Spruce Street.

Selectmen also voted 4-1, with Julie Deschesne opposed, to not open bids for a tax-acquired house and property on Hillcrest Drive and allow Franklin Mortgage Co. of New York to pay liens including $9,253.46 in back taxes for the property. The bank’s attorney, John Flagg, also committed the bank to paying the town’s legal fees and back sewer fees. The bank plans to clean up the property and auction it.

Selectman Russell Flagg said when a member of the public questioned why the bids would not be opened when he knew his bid was higher than the amount offered by the bank, that it was past practice that the town has always given the person owning the property first option to pay back taxes.

Deschesnes said that it was her feeling that the town had gone out to bid and people had submitted sealed bids in good faith and they should follow through with the bid process.

In another matter, Selectman Bill Demeray said that some voters may find their names not on the registered voter list due to some missing cards when it comes time to vote.

Newly appointed registrar of voters, Dawn Young, said Tuesday she discovered that some people who were on the voter list didn’t have voter cards. She has straightened out the situation for the most part but there will be about a dozen people who may have to fill out new voter registration cards at the polls.

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