The Tri-Town Track and Field Project continues to gain local support as the Freeport Economic Development Corporation revealed its endorsement of the project on Monday.

The project is hoping to raise funds to build an eight-lane track and turf field at Freeport High School, which would serve the community of Regional School Unit 5. Without access to a local track field, students have utilized Bowdoin College’s facilities for practices in past years.

“They came to our board meeting and gave us a summary of their fund efforts and the project in general and … we had a discussion of what that would do for our town, and how much it would mean to the students at the school,” said Keith McBride, executive director of the FEDC, on Monday.

FEDC, a private, nonprofit organization, partners with the town of Freeport to provide services in economic development for local businesses and the community.

“Having a really attractive high school is important for economic development … and also, keeping our schools competitive is what we see as a great economic advantage,” he said. “We support their fundraising efforts, and we hope they get everything they need to get everything to fruition.”

Recently, Nike pledged $1 million toward the project, and the project’s organization also announced that it would be naming the track after Freeport resident Joan Benoit Samuelson, a marathon runner who won a gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Despite support from community members, some have expressed their concern with the possible use of crum rubber for the infill of the field, as it may have potential health or environmental repercussions. Other possibilities have been discussed, including using cork or Nike Grind, materials from the company’s manufacturing scrap, for the infill.

This topic will be further discussed once funding for the project is secured, according to RSU 5 Chairwoman Michelle Ritcheson.

Until then, the organization continues to raise funds and garner support.

“This project is for the kids of Durham, Freeport and Pownal who go to Freeport High School, and that is why we think the folks in all three towns should support it,” said Fred Palmer, president of the Tri- Town Track and Field Project, in a press release. “But the fact that the Freeport business district may benefit is an added reason why Freeport merchants should support this project. We are very pleased with the endorsement of the FEDC. And we look forward to the support of the Freeport business community.”

What’s FEDC?

• THE FREEPORT Economic Development Corporation is a private, nonprofit organization partnering with the town of Freeport to provide services in economic development for local businesses and the community.

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