GORHAM – The Lakes Region Senior Center is elated that the Gorham Town Council last week OK’d reuse of the vacant Little Falls School as a community activity center after years of uncertainty.

“I’m very happy, the Lakes Region Senior Center is happy that they decided to go ahead with an activity community center,” Blanche Alexander, 82, of Gorham, president of the senior group, said on Tuesday.

The Town Council action paves the way for the seniors group to resume meeting in the building, which was last utilized for educational purposes several years ago.

The seniors group had met at the old, single-story school until the town closed it in September for repairs. Leaders of the senior center now hope the group would be granted its own space in the building following renovations.

“We are looking for a dedicated room,” Alexander said, “We want one to call our own.”

Voters in November of 2012 earmarked borrowing up to $500,000 to repair the building that opened as an elementary school in the mid 1950s. But, the referendum question on the ballot didn’t address a future use of the building. Last week, Gorham councilors approved spending $12,000 from the bond money to evaluate the needed repairs.

“The furnace, windows and roof are major things,” Alexander said.

Since being dislodged last summer when the building closed, the senior center has been meeting at Sunset Ridge Golf Links on Cumberland Street in Westbrook near the Windham town line. “They were kind to take us in,” she said.

David Alexander, Blanche’s husband, doesn’t expect the senior group would return to Little Falls before summer.

Citing other town-owned property allocated to groups, he said there’s precedent in Gorham for the seniors to be granted dedicated space.

Blanche Alexander said the Little Falls School site has easy access and is a good location for its members, who are from Gorham and surrounding communities. The group began meeting at Little Falls in September 2011 on a temporary basis. “We were very happy there,” she said.

As an activity center, Gorham Recreation Department, which operated some programs at Little Falls School before it closed, would be responsible for scheduling activities at the building.

Gorham officials had previously considered the Little Falls School or its site in previous plans for a variety of public safety facility options including police or fire stations. It was once used as a Gorham polling location.


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