PERU — Residents voted 500-313 Tuesday to have the town in charge of the former Peru Elementary School building again, and to spend $10,000 to help maintain it.

Three years ago, the town voted to rent the school to the Friends of Peru Elementary School for a minimal fee and to spend no more money on it. The group manages the building and pays for its maintenance through fundraisers, grants, fees from events held there and rent from various groups.

During the Sept. 29 selectmen meeting, the board approved a request from the Friends of Peru Elementary School to place an article on the Nov. 4 ballot, asking voters if they wish to put the town in charge of the building again and have the town donate $10,000 toward maintaining it.

With passage of the article, Friends of the Peru Elementary School is no longer a tenant but retains management of the building.

Friends of Peru Elementary School Chairman Nick Waugh said Wednesday that the group was “heartened by the size of the turnout and by our margin of victory” and thankful to voters for their support.

“This is pretty convincing evidence that the townspeople approve of our efforts to build community around the Peru Elementary School building and wish for us to continue,” Waugh said.

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The group’s first priority, “besides some repairs, will be to continue with the installation of our walk-in cooler and further upgrades to our commercial kitchen,” Waugh said.

“We also need to fix some windows damaged by vandals, and we’d like to upgrade the elevator and get that running,” he said. “However, before proceeding, we have to negotiate our contract with the selectmen to determine which pot of money — that which the Friends of Peru Elementary School has raised, or that which the town has given us — is going to cover which expense.”

Waugh said that the group would continue its efforts to raise money for the group and attempt to make the building more attractive to potential renters.

Among the groups that rent space there are a food bank, three Girl Scout troop, a Boy Scout troop and the Rumford Senior Citizens at Peru.

mdaigle@sunjournal.com


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