The Oxford Center Meeting House on Main Street is in need of about $50,000 in repairs. Supplied photo

OXFORD — After the Board of Selectmen debated the feasibility of maintaining the historic Center Meeting House on Route 26, the president of the Oxford Historical Society lobbied the board at its Thursday night meeting to form a historic preservation committee sanctioned by the town.

“After seeing the value of the Meeting House questioned in the Sun Journal, we do not want to see the loss of any more historic properties,” society President Trish Larrivee said. “There are organizations and locations that need preservation. I feel we would stand a better chance realizing grants to help save these buildings if an official committee is representative of the town. We have enough volunteers to do it.”

Reached Monday for further comment, Larrivee explained that there are a handful of historic properties that the Historical Society wishes to see preserved, including the Kay House on Pleasant Street where OHS is located. Both the Center Meeting House and the Kay House belong to the town of Oxford and both are in need of maintenance and repair. She said additional privately-owned historic buildings on Route 26 and King Street as well as the Hersey-Robinson home could be lost without intervention.

The Oxford Historical Society and Museum is located at the historic Kay House on Pleasant Street. OHS President Trish Larrivee said the building is in need of rehabilitation work. Supplied photo

Larrivee and fellow historical society officers Heather Langelier and John Crumpton, Jr. have volunteered to serve on a municipal-sanctioned historic preservation commission. State Representative Kathleen Dillingham and Oxford resident Henry Jackson have also stepped forward.

Larrivee said she and the other four volunteers are in the process of completing nomination applications to present to Selectmen at their July 2 meeting for consideration. Once the commission is officially formed it will determine its mission and create fundraising and preservation grant plans for local at-risk properties.

Selectman Sharon Jackson said she supported the proposal.

“I think it is an excellent idea for a preservation committee,” Jackson said. “We should move forward with this.”

Town Manager Butch Asselin confirmed he had completed a Maine Preservation grant application to help pay for work that needs to be done to the Meeting House. He said the estimate from ServPro for mold remediation is $8,000. It’s just one major project to rehabilitate the building.

“We are happy about the grant the town pursuing for the meeting house,” Larrivee said. “We want to develop similar plans to help fix these other historic buildings.”

The Center Meeting House at 476 Main St. was built in 1830 and has been used for town meetings and other gatherings for over 100 years.

Larrivee welcomes inquiries about OHS’s fledgling plans for community historical preservation. She can be emailed at [email protected] for more information.

In another matter, the board and director of recreational baseball and softball reached consensus on an abbreviated season, after the national Little League provided guidelines director Josh Wyman reported could be followed in Oxford.

“We have a better set-up than most other towns,” Wyman told selectmen. He explained how social distancing would be monitored and precautions taken, including hand sanitizer, caution tape separating key areas and rules for players in dugouts.

Oxford partners with Otisfield to put on Little League games. This year, with Oxford’s Recreation director being furloughed for much of the spring, Otisfield handled the registration process and is managing the fees that cover insurance liability and uniforms.

Pismo Field next to the town beach in Oxford is ready for Little League season to start. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Oxford will continue to pay umpire fees from its recreation budget.

Coaches will be responsible for maintaining and cleaning the field on a day-to-day basis.

Selectman Dana Dillingham commended Wyman for the standards Oxford volunteers have set for COVID-19 safety and suggested Wyman reach out to other communities to set up similar protections for their little league recreation.


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