A meeting with Congressional staff and area leaders was held Friday afternoon, March 3, at Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education in Livermore Falls to discuss ways to support the Tri-Town area given the Pixelle mill closure. Potential federal funding sources for the AYS building were also discussed. Pictured from left are Livermore Falls Code Enforcement Officer Brandon Hobbs, Carlene Tremblay with Sen. Susan Collins’ office, Ben Tucker with Sen. Angus King’s office and Area Youth Sports President David Frey. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

LIVERMORE FALLS — A meeting Friday afternoon, March 3, was held with representatives of U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden to discuss potential funding sources and plans for the Area Youth Sports building.

“Because of what is happening in our three towns with the mill closure, Kendra [Baker, executive director of United Way of the Tri-Valley Area] and I had some conversations of looking at grant opportunities, what is available and what we can do to bolster and strengthen our communities,” Robyn Raymond, director of Spruce Mountain adult and community education, said. “We had reached out to Golden’s office, King, Collins, Maine Development Foundation, any resources that were available to possibly do a community action front for the Jay-Livermore-Livermore Falls area.”

During that same time, directors for the AYS non-profit were working to bring the former Livermore Falls High School building up to code to meet regulations of the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office. The issue was brought to light when United Way of the Tri-Valley Area moved its Halloween fundraiser to the AYS building from Farmington last October. Sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, exit signs and lights were among items either missing or not up to current code.

Food items being served in the concession stand would have required installation of additional safety equipment. The menu was changed so that equipment was not needed.

The building will remain open for programming, AYS President David Frey said. No one is allowed in the academic wing, he noted. AYS has talked of replacing that area with a field house if funding were available, he stated.

The former high school has a large kitchen area that would be ideal for the adult education culinary arts program. Space at the current facility is limited. Workforce development, childcare, youth mentoring/tutoring and a conference center are other potential uses for the building.


A meeting sponsored by the Jay, Livermore, Livermore Falls Initiative with Congressional staff was held Friday afternoon, March 3, at Spruce Mountain Adult and Community Education in Livermore Falls. Congressionally Directed Spending, which could be a source of funding to renovate and expand use of the AYS building to include adult education programming was explained. Students in the current culinary arts cohort served a meal during the meeting which included this entrée featuring steak with port wine demi glace, garam masala carrots, asparagus with melted butter, fondant potatoes and mushrooms. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

To showcase the culinary arts program, students in the current cohort served a delectable meal featuring four mini starters, a steak entrée and dessert. Everything was prepared by two students who came in especially on Friday when the meeting had to be postponed a day due to weather. Their instructor is Wayne Kregling.

Friday afternoon, March 3, AYS President David Frey shows the kitchen area of the former Livermore Falls High School now owned by AYS. The space would be ideal for the adult education culinary arts program which has limited space in its current location. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

“We would like to be helpful to the community,” Carlene Tremblay from Collins’ office said. “This community is going to take a big hit.”

Tremblay spoke about the process for applying for funding through Congressionally Directed Spending. Each office has a process and protocol for CDS spending, she said. The projects based with real community support are the ones liked.

“We want to help the community with a project that means something,” Tremblay said. “The broader the community support the better.”

Applications to Collins’ office are due March 15, it would be towards the end of the year before any funding is approved and moneys wouldn’t be seen until spring or summer of 2024, Tremblay noted.

The deadline for Sen. King is March 17, Ben Tucker from that office said.


“If you are applying to one entity we are encouraging people to apply through other offices,” Tucker said. This is the third year of this program, applications increased dramatically last year and are expected to increase this year, he added.

The program helps communities with things they might not be able to raise funds for otherwise, Tucker noted. A project might not be completely funded, the process is cumbersome, he added.

“Our job by federal statute … is not political, is to do whatever we can to help the people of Maine,” Tucker said. “Maine’s federal delegation, regardless of where our bosses stand, works very well together. It makes all of our jobs so much easier. I am not sure that is true in other states.”

Friday afternoon, March 3, Congressional staff toured the AYS building in Livermore Falls as part of a meeting to discuss community-wide grant funding. Pictured are Katherine Drummond from Congressman Jared Golden’s office and Ben Tucker from Senator Angus King’s office. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Congressional processes are different, less funding is available and there are limits on what projects can be funded, Katherine Drummond with Golden’s office said. The rules were just received Tuesday, won’t be posted on his website until next week with applications due the third week of March, she noted. There are more rules, the process is quicker, she added.

A project budget should be as accurate as possible, the more detail provided the better, Drummond said. “Sometimes we work with you to scale if we can’t fund the whole project,” she added.

Erica Watson, Maine Development Foundation had worked with Raymond on a Build Back Better grant which made it to one of 60 finalists but ultimately didn’t receive funding. Since last summer other opportunities have been looked for to make use of that information, she said.


When asked, Watson explained how the forestry industry worked together to look at how that sector might grow and move forward given the mill closures being seen around the state. Following the Jay mill closure, a collaborative approach for a Northern Border Regional Commission grant is underway locally, she added.

“The entire region can benefit,” Raymond said. “It is so timely with what is happening with the mill. We can rebuild, find new purpose for our community.” Space availability to develop opportunities is one challenge, she added.

There are other issues besides the codes required by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Brandon Hobbs, code enforcement officer for Livermore Falls said regarding the AYS building. He will put together a list of what is needed.

State Representative Sheila Lyman asked if third party inspections had been completed. “I want it to be successful when you go for grant funding,” she noted.

Some inspections had been done, a lot of things need to be done that the AYS board wasn’t aware of, Frey said. AYS programs keep kids out of trouble. “As a kid I didn’t have this opportunity,” he added.

Tremblay said the generational piece was important after Lyman shared that her daughter started AYS in the building as a second grader.

“This is such a great space,” Tremblay said during a tour of the AYS building.

Comments are not available on this story.