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Catch 22 for voters
PERU- After hearing that the town was going to receive a $10,000 grant last week to help enforce the mission of the Peru Rec Center, the Friends of Peru Elementary School found out that it has to go to a town vote to allow the expenditure of the grant money to the building. That vote will be on August 29 at 6 p.m.
At Wednesday night's meeting, the FPES elected officers and they plan to pursue a 501c3, non-profit status. They are serious about getting this grant and truly believe in their mission. They hope to create an outline to present to the town explaining their history and the various reasons why they think they should be entrusted with the grant.
They also decided that they will be holding the first of many fundraising events, beginning this fall with a combined Turkey Shoot and Harvest Supper in October.
Nick Waugh noted, “The grantor, Marshall Gibson, designated the money specifically for a community center, so it appears that if the townspeople vote down the money for the building they won't be able to spend it on anything else. Truth is, if we get the money and keep the building open through the winter, they won't have to figure out how they're going to get water and electricity to the brick building.”
The concern that Waugh noted is that, currently with no funds for the former school to remain open and allow it to be occupied, the town office needs to figure out a way to provide water and electricity to the town office, since it originates in the old building.
So, voters need to decide whether they're going to allow the Peru Recreation Committee to keep the $10,000 in order to fund the rec center or deny them, which in turn, will force the selectmen to figure out how to pay for the town office water and electrical supply.
The grant money has been awarded by the Marshall L. and Ruth-Anne Gibson Municipal Charitable Program. If citizens approve the allocation to the center, it will be able to remain open for another year and allow FPES to get their fundraising underway. It will take approximately $10,000 - $15,000 per year to keep the building heated, the lights on, water running and pay for any other insurances or repairs.
The grant, was provided through a trust of Marshall “Jack” Gibson, who founded Commercial Paving and Recycling Group of Scarborough and was to be set up for municipalities he worked with throughout the years. The five-year program begins this summer with twelve towns being selected each year to receive $10,000 each.
Gibson noted that it is his way of giving back to the communities he worked with over the years and the money is to assist in building positive community-based projects, the Peru Rec Center clearly depicts that description.
Clubs and groups such as the Civil Air Patrol, River Valley Zumba and Girl Scouts were renting meeting space prior to the June 28 vote that forced them out.
The Friends of Peru Elementary School will be holding another informational/planning meeting tonight at 6 p.m. in the voting room of the town office.