NORWAY — Following a two-year delay due to the pandemic, the Select Board approved moving ahead Thursday with building a new outdoor basketball court on Cottage Street.

Helped by a grant from New Balance, the town will refurbish the existing aging half-court basketball court by turning it into a slightly smaller than regulation full-court facility on the same site.

The court sits on land owned by New Balance that the town leases for $1 per year. Norway had sought a long-term lease, Town Manager Dennis Lajoie said, but the company wanted to reserve the right to use the land for potential expansion of the factory, if needed.

Two years ago, New Balance awarded the town $54,900 for the basketball court project, but an increase in construction costs left the town $10,164 short. Lajoie said the town, which had set money aside for a master plan study if a long-term lease was obtained, will use those funds to cover the difference.

The Select Board unanimously approved proceeding with the project.

In other business, the board approved an application for an outdoor festival permit for the Norway Music and Arts Festival, scheduled for July 9 and organized by Creative Norway. Main Street will be closed that day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the festival. The board also approved waiving the $100 application fee.

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Lajoie reported that the town had five applicants for police chief, two of whom are in-house. Lajoie said he will sit in on the interviews conducted by a board of three Maine police chiefs, which should begin soon. The town hopes to have the new chief in place by July 11, which would give the new hire three weeks to work with retiring Police Chief Robert Federico before he leaves Aug. 3.

Additionally, board Chairman Russell Newcomb and Selectman Thomas Curtis will represent the board during negotiations for a new contract with the police union. The first meeting is expected later this month.

A liquor license was approved for Norway Pizza XChange at 457 Main St., which is the former location of Ari’s Pizza.

Lajoie reported that Norway’s application for a Climate Action Grant by the state was approved for $50,000. The funds will be used to develop strategies to lower energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

The program’s priorities include an assessment of critical infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, and a vulnerability assessment that identifies climate risks in vulnerable populations to reduce risk and develop evacuation plans.

Norway was one of 24 municipalities in the state to receive funding in the first round, Lajoie said.


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