LISBON — Lisbon officials want to be able to open up the high school gym to locals in the event of an emergency or extended power outage, but first they’ll need a generator.

When the building was built in 2015, town officials had the gym in mind as a place people could turn to if a natural disaster or outage made it dangerous to stay at home.

Lisbon High School’s gym will provide a new emergency shelter for the town once a generator is purchased. (Chris Quattrucci / The Times Record file photo)

“We’ve used the police station as a warming center in the past,” said Town Manager Diane Barnes. “This would be a place for people to stay.”

The town has previously offered the town hall and police department building as a place for residents to warm up in snow storms. The building didn’t provide a permanent place for people to stay.

“Previously, people in Lisbon would have to travel to Lewiston for an emergency shelter,” said Emergency Management Director Lisa Ward. “We’ve had warming shelters, but we haven’t had an emergency shelter”

The town has received $36,625 worth of Department of Homeland security grants over the past 3 years. With a 3-year limit to spend the money, Ward went before the town council Tuesday seeking to purchase the generator. The town also set aside $20,000 from an undesignated fund balance to get the generator.

Ward said she didn’t have an exact count for how many people the gym could fit, but estimated with cots it could potentially hold 40 to 50 people.

In the event of an emergency, Ward said the town would be able to potentially borrow items, such as cots, from Androscoggin County.

“We’re lucky where we don’t get many natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes,” said Ward. “But, if you remember the ice storm of ’98, there were a lot of people that were looking for a place to go.”

The town will start taking bids to install a generator.

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