WINDHAM – The Town Council this week gave the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee the go-ahead to look further into the idea of a town community center.

The advisory committee presented the results of a survey it conducted that found an overwhelming majority of respondents are in favor of Windham having a community center.

“There’s been a lot of discussion over the last few years, and more so probably in the last six to eight months, about a community center for Windham and what that could do for us as a community,” said Pat Moody, chairman of the advisory committee. “So we did a survey, we reached out to folks in Windham to understand if that is something they would like, and what that would entail.”

The survey, which Moody acknowledged was not an exact science, garnered more than 1,000 online and hard copy responses. Of the respondents, 97 percent answered “yes” to the question, “Would you support a Community Center for Windham that would provide programs and facilities to all ages?” Forty-three percent of those respondents were age 18 or under. The complete results are available on the town’s website as part of the agenda packet for the March 28 meeting.

“The results are pretty compelling,” Moody said, prompting the advisory committee to get the council’s OK to create another ad-hoc committee to further explore the idea.

“I know people just say ‘community center’ and so many people don’t necessarily know what that is,” said Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee member Linda Brooks. “(The ad-hoc committee) is a great opportunity to just look around the state of Maine. Many communities have addressed this need in a variety of ways.”


Though the council appeared unanimous in it’s support for exploring the idea, several council members emphasized that funding such a project could prove difficult.

Councilor Jarrod Maxfield said that he supported the committee planning ahead to develop a vision for the community center, but indicated that there were likely more immediate needs for the town. Maxfield also raised whether Raymond would be interested in a joint community center, since the towns already share a school district.

“I’ve got no problem with the committee looking at it. It’s just one of those things that we need to put on our list, and we’ve got a big list,” said Maxfield. “In my opinion, we’re just at a point where we need to think about the things that we need, and the things that we want, and find a happy medium.”

Council Vice Chairman David Nadeau was clear about his support for exploring the community center idea.

“I support this. I don’t think we do a very good job with the emotional needs of our constituents,” said Nadeau. “At some point in time, we’re going to have to invest in ourself. And I’m in favor of moving it forward.”

“I think that this type of project is a lot easier to promote, as opposed to sewer or the public works garage, let’s say, because we’re not running people through the public works garage,” said Councilor Timothy Nangle. “But this is something they can actually use and go to. So yes, I think it’s a great idea.”


Town Manager Tony Plante also weighed in on the need to invest in Windham’s sense of community.

“There’s a real tendency, and I know I experience this myself, to focus on the nuts and bolts, keeping-the-lights-on issues,” Plante said. “But I think as we’re going through the process of setting priorities – yes, it’s a big list, there are a lot of big things on it – I think we need to be careful to consider the things that, as Councilor Nadeau put it, connect with people’s need for community, need for a sense of identity.”

“It seems to me that all seven of us are in favor of you guys starting a committee. I want to thank you for doing a great job,” Council Chairman Dennis Welch said to wrap up Tuesday’s community center discussion.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

Pat Moody and Linda Brooks of the Windham Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee present the results of a survey that gauged local interest in a potential community center.

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