David Alexander of Lake Region Senior Center chats Tuesday with Town Councilor Virginia Wilder Cross. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Gorham Recreation and advocates for older residents have some ideas on how the town should invest its $1.9 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The town has already earmarked $200,000 of the funding, intended to address local impacts of the pandemic, for public safety equipment, Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak said Tuesday at a town council workshop.

Recreation Director Cindy Hazleton outlined a number of potential projects for trails and fields, which have seen a “huge increase” in use since the pandemic began,” according to information presented at the workshop.

Possibilities include $40,000 for a designated parking area and other improvements at the bicycle pump track at the town-owned Weeks Road property; $500,000 to extend the Cross Town Trail connection from New Portland Road to a parking lot behind Village School; $354,720 for steel roof and other improvements at the ice skating rink on the so-called Chick property near the public safety complex; $190,000 for two, multi-sport courts at the Chick property; and $332,425 for a parking lot on Chick Drive near Gray Road.

Smaller investments would include a variety of trail improvements; a privy-style restroom at the Weeks Road trail, $10,000; in-ground trash systems to collect pet waste and trash at trails and fields, $36,000; and a kayak dock on the Presumpscot River at Shaw Park, $12,000.

Concrete ping pong, concrete corn hole and concrete checker tables and stools could each be placed in three parks along with the Chick recreation area, Preble Street Common and Little Falls Activity Center, costing $8,500 per site.


David Alexander of Lakes Region Senior Center said many of those proposals aren’t relevant to seniors, and Councilor Ronald Shepard said he wants to ensure that all residents benefit from the ARPA funds.

“We need some things for seniors,” Shepard said.

The Recreation Department has proposed hiring a part-time senior program staff member to generate new programs for seniors and partner with other agencies for assistance in developing them. It also suggests that senior trips organized by the department could be subsidized, funding for the Lake Region Senior Center could be increased and shade and benches could be added to town parks for seniors.

Town Councilor Janet Kuech said she wants the town to look at ways to provide mobile opportunities for home-bound seniors.

Town Council Chairperson Lee Pratt has called for another workshop to hear from all the town’s departments on the ARPA funds.



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