CANTON — Clean up fire-damaged properties, repair an old school building or establish a campground.

These are among the ideas favored by townspeople on how to spend the $32,000 per year paid by Canton Mountain Wind to the town’s Community Benefit Fund.

Voters at town meeting in June approved setting up a special account for taxes from the $50 million, eight-turbine wind-power development on Canton Mountain.

Earlier in the year residents held a forum to come up with their spending ideas for the funds. Tina Cagle, the town administrative assistant, recently prepared a graph depicting which items were chosen and which were most popular among residents.

The final decision on how the money will be spent will be made at town meeting in June, Cagle said. But before that meeting, a public hearing will be held, possibly in February, “to make sure that what everybody chose the first time is still what we want the second time,” she said.

Residents were asked to consider ideas that would provide “sustainable tax relief — which means we need to continually add new residents and new businesses to steadily increase the tax base,” according to a memo from the Town Office.


A short-term, one-time expenditure that garnered 39 percent of the votes in November was to clean up two fire-damaged properties acquired by the town. Both were homes on School Street that will require “tearing down, leveling, (and) putting them back on the market,” Cagle said.

Another short-term, one-time expenditure would involve repairing the former  Canton Elementary School on School Street. The roof of the school has collapsed, the building has asbestos and the basement floods, Cagle said. The building may be repurposed for other uses or torn down and used as a parking lot for the baseball field across the street, she said.

A longer-term economic development idea generated by townspeople is to build a campground on town property bought by the town and the Federal Emergency Management Agency following major flooding of the town in December 2003.

“A campground would be allowable on that property, (but) it would just be a ‘dry’ campground — no electricity, no running water,” Cagle said.

Other ideas on how to spend the Community Development Fund money include  handicapped access to the town beach, a dog park, transportation from Canton to Lewiston-Auburn and for the town to hold fairs, horse shows, and fishing derbies.

“I think that’s what (the townspeople) want, is a beautiful Canton where people could come and compliment them on the town that they live in,” Cagle said. “I think that’s what their goal is: for people to say ‘Canton, the most beautiful town in Maine.’”

Canton Administrative Assistant Tina Cagle shows the graph Thursday she has prepared from the votes received in November on ideas for how to spend $32,000 from the Community Benefit Fund. (Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson)

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