Selectmen allow WCC limited reopening

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 8:45am

    Wiscasset Community Center got the go-ahead June 2 from selectmen for a limited reopening of the pool and gymnasium. Meeting by teleconference, the board also authorized a committee to look into making some alterations at the Sunken Garden. 

    Parks and Recreation Director Duane Goud said WCC is again taking reservations for lap swimming. Swimmers will need to shower at home and arrive in their bathing suits because the locker room will be closed to the public. Swimmers must stay in their assigned lane.

    Goud said spectators won’t be allowed and WCC will not permit any loitering in the building. The gymnasium will be open for walking and jogging. No pickle ball or basketball games will be permitted. The weight room will remain closed. “We’ll follow all of the recommended COVID-19 CDC guidelines, and we’ll do everything we can to make the community center safe for all users and staff,” he said.

    Find more details and instructions for making swim reservations at

    Chairman Judy Colby and Selectman Ben Rines Jr. voiced concerns about WCC’s reopening. Colby said she would prefer the center hold off reopening for a few more weeks. “If we as a board of selectmen can’t meet in public, how can we allow people to gather at the community center,” Rines asked. He suggested people take a walk outdoors instead of going swimming.

    Also June 2, Appearance of the Town Committee Chair Terry Heller got approval to look into returning a pergola and two arches to the Sunken Garden. Several early photographs show how the structures looked. In her correspondence to selectmen, Heller noted monies would be raised privately. “This proposal is for initial approval of the idea in concept only,” she wrote.

    In approving the request, the board noted the committee would need to research the property’s deed to determine if the structures would be permitted. The small garden at the corner of Federal and Main streets is just coming into bloom. It was a gift to the town from the Sortwell family in 1958.

    Nomination papers available

    At least five residents, including three incumbents, will be on the ballot of the Sept. 8 municipal election, and there is still time for more residents to run. To arrange to get nomination papers, call the town office at 882-8200. The deadline for returning them is 5 p.m. Friday, July 10.

    Seats available include three, two-year seats on the select board; one, three-year seat on the school committee; seven vacancies for budget committee and three, three-year terms on the water district. Candidates must collect at least 25 but no more than 100 signatures of registered Wiscasset voters.

    Absentee ballots for the town election will be available Aug. 8. Polls on election day will be open at WCC from 8 to 8.

    Superintendent of Schools Terry Wood reported the school committee had completed work on its 2020-2021 budget.The proposed amount to be raised locally is the same as last year, $5.99 million.

    Selectmen unanimously authorized the town manager to apply for a $30,000 CARES grant for Wiscasset Municipal Airport. Funding is administered through the Federal Aviation Administration. Applications must be received no later than July 6. And the board granted a school department request to take $500 from the Lawrence B. Haggett Memorial Scholarship, and $1,000 from the Gen. John and Jeanette French Scholarship. The monies will go to two graduating members of Wiscasset Middle High School’s Class of 2020.

    Later this month, selectmen will return to meeting in the hearing room with limited seating. They will hold a series of budget meetings beginning at 5 p.m. June 18. Other budget discussions are scheduled for June 22 and 25. The next regular meeting of the board is June 9.  

    Selectmen entered into executive session to discuss ongoing labor negotiations. Colby said no action would be taken following their return to public session.