The Treasure Chest at the Public Services facility on Sea Road will reopen after a pause during the pandemic. It will open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays starting June 19. Dan King photo

KENNEBUNK – The Treasure Chest at Kennebunk’s Public Services complex on Sea Road is poised to reopen on Saturdays, starting June 19.

That is good news for those seeking to dispose of unwanted serviceable items – and others looking for that very thing can scoop it up and take it home, free.

Like many entities, it was shuttered during height of the pandemic. There was some opposition voiced at the municipal level as the prospect of its reopening as Maine CDC’s pandemic guidelines eased, vaccinations increased and incidences of positive coronavirus tests began to decline.

In late April, Blake Baldwin, select board chair, expressed the thought that it was time to shutter the Treasure Chest, and noted that some people who used it did so to make cash – by taking items and selling them at a flea market.

Baldwin also at the said the larger issue is that the public works garage area is unsuitable for the work that needs to be done, upgrades are being contemplated – and traffic flow on the property as a whole presents safety issues.

“An awful lot of people come in and drop things off and others pick them up,” said board member Ed Karytko at the April meeting. “I think it’s a lot like the medical loan closet … I think it’s helpful to the community. I’m in favor of keeping it.”

So, apparently, were the residents who sent emails to Baldwin.

“I spoke impulsively and my comments somewhat ill conceived,” said Baldwin at the May 25 meeting. “Old dogs can learn new tricks, and so I educated myself on the usefulness of the Treasure Chest.”

Town Manager Mike Pardue said a number of residents had outlined the importance of the Treasure Chest.

Pardue said in the spirit of compromise and with an eye on safety issues, it was decided that Saturdays, when there are no municipal trucks moving on the Sea Road property, was the best day for the Treasure Chest to be open. Prior to the pandemic, the Treasure Chest had been open Fridays and Saturdays.

Jennifer Babiec, one of three permanent volunteers who are aided by a couple of volunteers who drop in to help, in a social media posting said the Treasure Chest would be open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, starting June 19. She said that clothing, exercise machines, furniture and overly large items are not accepted. Volunteer staff may go through boxes of items being dropped off and those looking for items will have 15 minutes inside, because the building is small.

“Our rules are simple, the only request we make is to not to take to sell,” Babiec said in a message.  Volunteers make it known there are people in need who use the Treasure Chest, Babiec said, and that taking items to sell them reduces the availability of  items.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: