I grew up in Rumford and spent hours at the Institute (now Greater Rumford Community Center). My husband and I had young children and explored the opportunities available for our young family.

Our first child took gymnastics from Ron Ashworth, who was the recreation director of the Rumford Institute for many years. I was quickly swept into the sport because he needed help. Gymnastics invaded my soul and I have spent the past 25 years coaching many children.

The GRCC has been a home to many children. It serves as a safe place for many children to hang out. Children use the GRCC, not only as a place for sports, but as a place to do homework.

It is difficult to understand how people would ever take that special place away from the many children who depend on the “Stute” on a daily basis. Children need a safe environment to meet with other children, participate in sports, work out in the health club and use the computer space. The GRCC also provides adults many opportunities.

The GRCC houses five businesses. Closing would negatively affect the revitalization plans for downtown.

The average cost for GRCC support is $24 per taxpayer per year. An annual investment of $24 is small on an individual level, but losing the GRCC would be huge to the entire community and downtown.

The vote is July 23. I hope residents get the facts and vote with clear minds.

Louanne Thibodeau, Rumford

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