LIVERMORE FALLS — Selectmen gave veteran Don Simoneau of Fayette permission this week to repair the World War I cannon and raise money to fix it and replace 120 flags that line Main Street in Livermore Falls and Jay.

The entire project is expected to cost between $5,000 and $6,000.

Selectmen also voted to put the $615.65 donated in Geneva Hodgkins’ memory toward the cannon repairs.

The family asked that the money go toward the project, Town Manager Kristal Flagg said.

Residents voted in June to restore the original name of the park to Union Park. Selectmen had changed the name to Geneva Hodgkins Memorial Park in 2008 in memory of the woman who adopted it and brought it back to good condition.

Simoneau told selectmen he has been concerned about the cannon in Union Park for a number of years. One wheel had rotted out and the other recently gave way.

He was afraid the cannon would tip over and someone could get hurt, he said. The barrel of the cannon, manufactured in 1898, weighs nearly 800 pounds.

Simoneau said he and Livermore Falls resident Wayne Knowlton jacked the cannon up and put it on cement blocks to stabilize it.

The Grand Army of the Republic donated the cannon.

Two 57-inch, extra-heavy-duty wooden cannon wheels will cost $875.95 each, not including shipping, Simoneau said, according to an estimate he received. 

Work also needs to be done on the hub and axle because the original was replaced with a smaller unit to fit smaller wheels, he said.

Simoneau plans to have a large slab poured for the cannon, which will contain the plaque indicating its origin.

The back of the cannon will be secured so no one can roll it away, but will allow for the wheels to be rotated.

“The wheels rotted out because they sunk into the dirt,” he said.

A Jay businessman has agreed to pour the slab at no charge, he said.

Simoneau said he will still need about 12 yards of gravel and help with the digging.

He asked selectmen and Flagg to check to make sure they want the cannon where it is or in another spot in the park.

“I think we should also be looking, wherever it goes, that it is out of the way of snow removal,” Flagg said.

The cannon has a lot of rust that also concerned him, Simoneau said. It was sandblasted and painted five years ago. He wants to get it done again, he said.

The cannon may need to be hauled to a place where it can be done, he said.

The cannon-repair part of the project is estimated to cost about $3,000.

He suspects the cannon restoration will take no longer than six months.

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