The Mary E. Taylor School dilemma

On June 13, 2017, a majority of Camden and Rockport voters agreed to the building of a new middle school. Unfortunately, the referendum did not specifically address the SAD 28 School Board’s plans for the Mary E. Taylor school, which will be demolished along with the rest of the Middle School complex.

Recently the town’s Historic Resources Committee publicly stated that the MET is of great value to the community and its demolition would destroy “a town resource and a neighborhood anchor that connects the town to its past.”

Even the Maine State Preservation Committee has designated the MET school as one of the most endangered historic buildings in Maine.

I would suggest that before the School Board has the building demolished in 2018 and the town loses a valuable asset, it should consider giving it to the town, especially since the town owns the land the building sits on.

It is my understanding that even though the building is structurally sound, it would cost between $500,000 and $2 million to bring the building up to code requirements. Once that is done, the building could be used to house a historic center for the town, provide rental space for a number of small businesses and/or professional offices. Presently, there are no facilities available in the town for new small businesses that would bring jobs to the area which are sorely needed.

Recognizing that the select boards of both Camden and Rockport have to date shown little interest in the building, they should allow the voters to decide the usage of MET by providing another referendum in June 2018 or earlier. This referendum should clearly state the intended use and cost, which can only happen if the town provides good and well thought-out planning.

Let’s not waste the opportunity to do the right thing now, for the betterment of Camden and its citizens.

Richard Householder


Lions Club thanks community

The Camden Lions Club members would like to give a heartfelt “thank-you” for the support of the Camden community. When you entrust your returnable bottles and cans to us at the transfer station, you enable our community service mission. The Lions sort these contributions twice a week and plow the money right back into our community.

The Lions are perhaps more visible to the community during holidays. We install the American flags that line the downtown for patriotic holidays. We plant and maintain the war memorial flower bed. We provide the funding for the holiday star on the Mt. Battie tower. We donate and install the Christmas tree on the Village Green. We light this tree on the evening of Dec. 1 during Christmas By the Sea — along with manning a Lions’ booth near the library that gives away cookies and warm drinks. Less visible are the Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets that we provide. Or our donation to Wreaths Across America, where holiday wreaths from Maine are laid on graves at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.

The Lions strive to foster our community children. We sponsor the Leos at the high school, who, in turn, sponsor an African student, donate yearly school supplies to those who need them, and who will have a booth during the Christmas By the Sea evening celebration. This year the Lions awarded $8,000 in scholarships to students to help defray their upcoming college expenses. We made donations to Five Town Football, Five Town Little League, and to the high school hockey program. We donate to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. We participate in the yearly Lions Club International Peace Poster contest and make awards to our local winning students to encourage both their vision and their art. One student’s poster is chosen to go on to the Maine state Lions organization competition.

In 1925 Helen Keller challenged Lions Club International to make a commitment to help those with vision problems. That commitment is taken very seriously to this day. We collect thousands of pairs of eyeglasses each year in our area and turn them over to the state Lions recycling center, where they are sorted and distributed to those in need.

This year we made local donations to the Area Interfaith Outreach food pantry, Camden Area District Nursing, Camden-Rockport Historical Society, Coastal Navigators, Hospitality House, Lifeflight, Look for the Helpers, the PenBay YMCA, Toys for Tots and Window Dressers. We also made a donation to Lions International for hurricane relief.

Lions do other work in our community — work that does not necessarily involve money. One motto is “Where there’s a NEED, there’s a LION.” Another is “Not above you, not beneath you, but with you.” So, when you entrust your bottles and cans to us, you can be sure that we are making good use of your trust. Again, we thank you for your donations.

Bob Oxton

Camden Lions Club