Old News Archive

In My Opinion

December 29, 2009 - TRC - By Valerie Robertson

The voters of Milo have a big decision to act on at the Special Town Meeting January 5th. As someone who was directly impacted by the fire, and is now a businessperson who will not directly be impacted but a citizen who will be, I shall offer up my insight on the issue.

The grant money being offered to the town is ONLY available as a result of the fire and can ONLY be used to improve the footprint of the businesses lost because of that fire. The money canít be used for any other purpose other than to improve or rebuild that exact area. If we donít take the money, it wonít go back to the government to pay the national debt or lower our taxes. It will go to some other town who has suffered devastation to their downtown area.

The money is a grant that Milo will never have to repay. Granted (no pun intended) there are stipulations as to what can be done with the money: they are varied and the voters can have their say in how the other $400,000+ dollars are spent once the lots are purchased.

To those of you who have bought, sold or looked at properties in Milo, you no doubt see the price of the True Value lots as inflated. Perhaps, but when the application for the grant was being written, the amount being asked for HAD TO BE justified. The $48,200 for the True Value lot and $10,000 for the other lot was part of the itemization of costs in the application. When I traded my lot to the town for the hospital building, I sincerely thought that lot was worth $17,000 considering that the night before my closing to purchase the lot where Hobnobbers had been located, a Main Street business owner called the realtor and offered $20,000 for it. If you add that amount to the $10,000 Saviolis paid for the Flower Shop lot, $48,200 seems fair for the rest of the properties.

I certainly donít want to waste the grant money on a building or complex that would compete with any other business in Milo. I donít think we need condos or apartments. But there are some feasible opportunities I can see. Mr. Tom Harrigan has an amazing collection of artifacts and fossils that he would be willing to donate towards a museum. We have a fabulous Historical Society here in town with a vast collection of amazingly interesting items of Americana. Perhaps we could have a building that housed some of each collection, creating a draw to Milo like the Transportation Museum is to Owlís Head. We need a building to sell crafts made by local people. We live in a state where ďGoing for a rideĒ is a legitimate recreational activity; What if we had a destination for that activity?

We have a local church interested in a Youth Center. Kiwanis, The American Legion and other groups have expressed a desire to help. What if we had a place for kids to gather for games and socializing a few days a week? There is money available for maintaining such things. What if we just put in a few square yards of cement and gave the kids a place to ride skateboards or BMX bikes? We would have a spot where it was well lit. And safe. Iím sure the folks at Rite Aid and MFU would welcome their parking lots being used for only parking and not skate parks!!

I understand the hesitation on some folksí part, but I see this opportunity as too good to pass up. I hope you all consider coming to the meeting Tuesday night. Whatever the outcome, letís at least make sure EVERYONE is heard!

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.