By Kirstan Knowlton
GORHAM — The board of selectmen approved an amended plan for the original location of the proposed Bikes Not Bombs drop-off shelter. The new location will be less visible and will require the previously poured concrete slab to be moved.
Moving about 200 yards to the left of the original location, the shelter, which will be a drop-off point and warehouse for bicycles until they can be sent to developing countries, will sit in the back corner of the parking lot next to Gorham Public Library making it less visible to nearby residents.
According to the Bikes Not Bombs website, the organization “Provides community-based education and assists development projects with recycled bicycles, related technologies and technical assistance, as concrete alternatives to the militarism, over-consumption and inequality that breed war and environmental destruction. Their organization is part of a worldwide movement for peace and responsible stewardship of the earth.”
Throughout the year, anyone can drop off bikes of any condition to the collection site to be used in the development project, which provides hands-on, community-based education.
Local residents recently expressed concerns that at its original planned location, the collection facility would have an overflow of used bicycles and would look unsightly.
The concrete slab, estimated to weigh roughly 28,000 pounds would be moved in the spring once the ground is thawed. Specifics on how the slab will be moved and who will move it have not yet been worked out.
Matt Saladino, a guidance councilor at Gorham High School was on hand at the meeting with high school senior Bronson Leclerc to finalize their plan, and to answer any questions.
Resident Steve Roy was still concerned about the monitoring and maintenance of the collection site, but Saladino reassured him that the school would take care of it, citing a strong community service group among the students.
All three board members approved the new location.
Request for funding water fountain
In other news, Nicole Eastman of the CARE Committee, a group of student’s parents, approached the town requesting funding for a new water fountain in the gymnasium at the Ed Fenn Elementary School.
In her presentation, Eastman explained that the committee was looking to install a water fountain similar to one that was put in down by Libby’s Pool. The fountain would cost roughly $1,800 to install, with water and electric access already available.
The committee felt the fountain upgrade was needed, because the current fountain does not meet the needs of the students. Since other fountains in the school no longer work, students have been using the faucets in the restrooms to refill their water bottles.
Eastman questioned if the recreation department might be willing to help cover some of the costs for the new fountain, citing the department's use of the gymnasium and the benefit to their participants.
The school and the town recreation department have an agreement under which the school covers a portion of the costs to maintain town recreation fields, which it regularly uses for sports practice and games.
Jeffrey Stewart, director of the parks and recreation department, was not at the meeting, but had already submitted a letter to the town manager about his decision on making a donation. Stewart who did not support the use of funds from the recreation department for the project said that it was not necessary to replace the fountain at this time, because it did not have an impact on health or safety.
When asked about the school’s plan to replace the fountain, she said that it has been on the list of projects to be worked on by the school, but each year it has been cut from the budget.
Eastman, who did not have a specific number in mind when she first approached the board, said that the committee would be very happy with any donation that they received. She explained that the committee was expecting to raise about $1,000, and would need to come up with roughly $800 more, and offered a figure of $500.
Selectmen Grace LaPierre suggested that if the school could donate $400, they would match that amount from the town Recreation Revolving Fund to raise the remainder of the funds.
Eastman thanked the board for their donation, and said that she would let them know if the committee needed anything else.