SCARBOROUGH — The Town Council began discussing potential ways to fund a town community center on March 11, with a presentation from the Ad-Hoc Community Center Committee.

In the committee’s final report, the conclusion reached was that “the Ad-Hoc Community Center Committee believes there is sufficient evidence, resident support, and rationale to continue studying the opportunity to build a community center.”

Out of the over 1,800 who were surveyed about a potential community center, 1,285 Scarborough residents said that they would like a facility, according to the presented information.

The committee members present at the workshop presented two options, a public-private developer model and a self-built model, but they recommended that the council continue to discuss or negotiate with the developer about a private lease agreement.

The Downs developer, Edge Sports Group, presented a lease proposal to the committee in December, according to the committee’s final report. The projected 30-year lease agreement would be an annual payment of  $2,349,500, based on a developer-proposed 71,000-square-foot model, almost $50 million in total.

The proposed site would be adjacent to the Downs track.

Roccy Risbara, the president and co-owner of Risbara Bros. Construction, said that if the town does not enter a lease agreement, public access would not be the focus of the facility. There would be leased time to schools, clubs, or other facilities.

“If the town is not participating, we will go and find users who will pay the most to use the facility …,” he said. “We’ve already done all that. We know who our users might be who would use the facility.”

Matthew Tonello, committee chair, also presented a self-built facility model, with an estimated cost of $11 million.

Municipal Campus “Master Plan” that shows proposed site locations. Courtesy Scarborough Ad-Hoc Community Center Advisory Committee

The committee looked at the municipal campus as potential locations for the center, and parking would not need to be included in the price tag, as Tonello said that it would be located near the large parking area near Wentworth School.

The committee assumed the project would have to replace the existing tennis courts, he said.

The committee also discussed possible features that a facility would include, like a swimming pool, which many survey-takers expressed interest in.

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