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Kathy Gagnon

Citizens of Millinocket, Your Historical Society Needs You
By Kathy Gagnon
Nov 7, 2007 - 7:42:14 PM

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Citizens of Millinocket,

The Millinocket Historical Society needs your support at the Town Council meeting on Tuesday, November 13th at 7:00 pm.

Right on the heels of a vote by the Town Council approving a loan to the MHS for purchase of a building, an uproar is being waged to rescind this order.

While towns across the state are rallying to see the history of their towns find homes and be secure, a group of very vocal people here are working very hard to see that our museum stays in the closet.

The meeting that the Millinocket Historical Society gave their presentation at, in order to explain to, and inform the community was not aired on KAT-TV due to technical difficulties.

The presentation was well done and well received by the council, with the exception of Councilors Polstein and McLean. It was a 4-2 vote in favor of approving this loan. Councilor Polstein's outburst at the meeting when this was approved against his wishes should have been an omen to those of us present of what was to come.

The Millinocket Historical Society is not able to seek grants until, and unless they have a building. For that reason, they asked for a loan from the town to acquire a building.

The Mott Apartment building on Central Street has qualities that other buildings do not have, which make it an ideal choice.

First, it is structurally sound and would not need extensive restoration to make it handicap accessible. The location is a big plus, as it is located on Central Street where the thousands of visitors who travel through to visit the mountain and Baxter State Park can see it and be more apt to stop and visit. The property already has a paved parking area as well. This building has a dry cellar for storage and plenty of room for the museum to grow and to have "theme" rooms for display. With the planned cosmetic renovations to the exterior, our town museum located in the Mott building could be a big step in adding some charm to the sights that visitors see as they enter and pass through our town.

With this building, the Millinocket Historical Society would be able to have the museum open on a more regular basis, hold meetings there, raise funds with a small shop inside, and have social gatherings for residents and interested parties to meet and explore our town's culture and history.

The terms of the agreement in jeopardy without your support would have the Millinocket Historical Society receive a loan from the town for $99,000. That breaks down as $90,000 for the building, and $9,000 for operating costs. The building itself would be collateral and would not be changed or renovated for two years - the loan would be paid first.

In the meantime, the Millinocket Historical Society would be occupying the building for meetings, an office, and some small displays.

Grants would be sought out and ambitious fundraising would be occurring, all to pay off the loan as soon as possible.
If, at the end of the two years, the loan were unable to be paid, the town would own the building and have the ability to sell it.

We have seen the town give - not loan - $30,000 to a non-resident for a Cultural Center, which never materialized. This same council also approved paying $50,000 to put an elevator in a building that the town did not even own. We have also seen thousands upon thousands of dollars lost on business ventures with people who have never even lived here.

It is time for the town of Millinocket's museum to have a home of its own. An opportunity is right in front of us, we need to rally to support this or chance losing our museum or seeing it kept locked away from us.

Though some have argued that the Mott Apartment building does not have enough "historical value" to house our museum, I beg to differ.

By purchasing this building and making it our town's museum, not only will it house our history and culture, but we will be making new history by banding together and making this happen.

Please, attend the meeting and stand with us in support of this.

Thank you.

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