WEST PARIS — Next to a few charred beams from the last grandstand that stood at the Edward J. Mann Athletic Complex on High Street, a new structure is rising over the baseball fields.


Town Manager John White said he hopes the new grandstand will be completed within 90 days. As of Monday, the town had raised $17,344 toward the project. It’s insurance provider is expected to cover $64,471 of the construction expenses, including $5,225 to clear the debris of the old grandstand.


The former 70- by 30-foot wooden structure at the Harold C. Perham field was destroyed by a fire July 24, 2008. A teenage boy was charged with arson in connection with the blaze.


“That night, right there, we all decided it was going to be rebuilt,” said Nancy Henderson, a member of the town’s Grandstand Rebuilding Committee.


Henderson said the committee organized fundraising events to cover the costs of the reconstruction. They included an evening featuring an auction, supper, and dance as well as a dinner with racing drivers Ricky Craven, Mike Rowe, and Sam Sessions. One local resident, Ray Brown, actively worked to raise funds, and his family asked for donations to the project in lieu of flowers after Brown passed away in June.


Henderson said some equipment, including team uniforms, was also destroyed in the fire. Other fundraising efforts have replaced some of the equipment.


White said a bid was awarded to T.K. and Sons Concrete Foundations of Hebron and A.J. Levesque Excavation of Poland to do foundation work to start the construction. The companies made a joint bid of $20,480 for the work. The contract for the grandstand carpentry work was awarded to Protech Builders of Fryeburg, which bid $41,732.


A groundbreaking ceremony was held Aug. 1. The official groundbreaker was Mary Ann Brown, Brown’s wife and daughter of Harold C. Perham.


Henderson said there will be some changes from the old design, including steel supports on the exterior instead of wooden ones and handicap accessibility. White said the design was based on photos of the grandstand.


“We tried to get as close to the look and size as modern construction would allow,” he said.


The original grandstand was constructed in the 1940s by the Works Progress Administration, a federal employment agency created under the New Deal. Henderson says she believes similar grandstands were constructed in western Maine, but few remain today.


The fields in the athletic complex are used by youth and adult baseball leagues.


“It was and continues to be a really important part of our community,” White said. “I’m pleased for all the support we’ve gotten from the community and friends of the town and everyone who’s been involved in it, and we’re all looking forward to its rebuilding and rededication.”


Henderson said there will be a celebration at the athletic complex when the construction is complete. It may include a band, community picnic, and baseball game.


“We’re hoping for a nice sunny day,” she said.


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