DIXFIELD — Residents voted at Thursday’s special town meeting to use up to $10,000 from the Ione Harlow Dixfield Community Fund to build an enclosure for a new electronic scoreboard at Harlow Park.

Peru resident Mark Thompson made the request at the July 28 board meeting. After the board confirmed that there was enough money in the fund to cover the cost, they agreed to put it on the special town meeting warrant.

Irving Forest Products recently donated $12,000 to Dirigo High School to replace its old football and soccer scoreboard with a new one.

Thompson said the new scoreboard is 24 feet wide, 8 feet high and features LED lights and wireless controls.

One resident asked selectmen to clarify what the Ione Harlow Fund is used for.

“I thought that money was supposed to be for the beautification of the town,” the resident said. “Would this fall under the beautification of the town?”

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said the fund was to be used for “community betterment” and could not be used for the reduction of property taxes.

“In this case, installing the enclosure to hold the sign falls under community betterment,” Puiia said. “That’s what this fund was created to do.”

Several residents wondered what was wrong with the current Harlow Park scoreboard.

Thompson said it’s failed numerous times during games.

“The company that makes the scoreboard has been helpful and gave us new controls to use, but the problems keep happening,” Thompson said. “It’s a dated piece of technology that only shows the time and score. The new scoreboard shows yardage, what down the team is on and a lot more information.

“It’s just a matter of keeping up with the times,” he said. “You can’t put yourself in a situation where you have a close game and the time stops running.”

Thompson said the old scoreboard would be moved to the field hockey field.  

“It still has some life left in it, so it should help them out for a while,” he said.

Resident Dan McKay wanted to know who would own the scoreboard.

Thompson said the Dirigo High School Athletics Department would, and if anything malfunctioned after the warranty ran out, it would be the school’s responsibility to fix it.

One resident asked if the town could throw the issue to the Dirigo Boosters.

Mike Hutchins, Dirigo High School’s assistant principal and athletic director, said the Boosters have already helped the school in several other ways, including providing equipment for the teams.

“They’ve done a tremendous job helping us, and I think it’d be better to utilize the $10,000 from the Ione Harlow Fund and allow our Boosters to continue providing equipment for the athletic programs,” Hutchins said.

Resident Jon Holmes said that since 2001, the Boosters have raised almost $100,000 for the school.

“I don’t think it’d be fair to ask the Boosters to cover this cost when we’ve done so much for the school already,” he said.

Voters overwhelmingly approved using the money.

[email protected]

 


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.