Crosswalk free meal location might move

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Some things need a few adjustments before they work out.

In order to alleviate a parking issue outside the Naples Town Office building, an elected official has been scouting out other venues for Crosswalks Community Outreach to hold its bi-monthly food pantry and free lunches.

For almost six months, there have been complaints from the public about the lack of parking on Mondays when the food pantry is open. The food pantry serves residents from Naples and four neighboring towns from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Monday.

The Naples Board of Selectmen has stated that its members support and appreciate the services of Crosswalks. But, parking is still an issue.

Recently, Selectman Robert Caron II looked into some optional sites for the food pantry. He reported his findings to the board on Monday. One feasible site is the American Legion Post No. 155, located right off Route 11 in Naples.

“I met with (Post Commander) Curtis Merrill. (He had) a couple of financial concerns. The other thing that needs to be addressed: They have an outdated lift on the stairs. Also, there is not a lot of room for a (wheel chair) ramp,” Caron said. A new lift was estimated to cost $3600, he said, and he was uncertain if upgrades would be required in the facility’s kitchen.

Town Manager Derik Goodine said he can apply for a Community Development Block Grant from Cumberland County. The grant could help pay for upgrades that would make the Legion more accessible to those people with physical handicaps.

It was suggested that the nonprofit Crosswalks might also be eligible for grants to help with bringing the outdated lift up to code.

The upstairs floor of the Legion Hall has ample space for the food pantry. Additionally, there are plenty of parking spaces outside the building.

According to Selectman Christine Powers, the next step for the town is to have another conversation with Crosswalks board members.

“The whole idea was to see if the Legion would work,” Caron said.

Powers agreed with the purpose of scouting out potential sites for Crosswalks’ program.

“I just wanted to make sure the Legion wasn’t stuck with bills they couldn’t pay,” Powers said.

In an e-mail late Tuesday night, Crosswalks Board of Directors President Nancy Vose said she has not yet taken a tour of the American Legion. Therefore, she could not comment on what improvements would need to be made, what grants might be available to assist with those upgrades, or if the facility would work for the food pantry program.


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