Second Chance Barn reopening

By Gail Geraghty
Staff Writer

HARRISON — A cleaner, tidier, more tightly controlled Second Chance Barn will be reopening at the Harrison Transfer Station Friday, to the delight of those who treasure the time-honored tradition of dump-picking.

The building, where residents drop off and pick up free items, had become pretty trashy looking, and also was being used to dump broken or damaged goods that, by rights, residents should have been paying to dispose of. On one occasion, a broken piano was dropped off there. The Transfer Station Committee decided this summer that something had to be done — so they convinced Town Manager George “Bud” Finch to temporarily close it.

A minor outcry ensued among residents who enjoyed poring over the discarded items. One man’s trash is another’s treasure, after all.

The committee developed guidelines for what can and cannot be dropped off, and scaled back the hours so that transfer station employees can be more available to supervise the operation. The Second Chance Barn will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“We think it’s a good direction to go, between those who think it should remain a constant ‘free-for-all’ where it got pretty trashy looking to not having it open at all,” Finch told selectmen last week.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” said Selectman Kathy LaPlante, who heads up the Transfer Station Committee. Of committee members, who are addressing all aspects of transfer station operations, she said, “They’re concerned citizens and they want to see some changes up there.”

The new rules are as follows: no clothing (for sanitary reasons, said Finch); no broken or damaged goods (All items must be in good condition, Finch said); no electronic goods such as TVs or computers; and no large or “specialty” items (there just simply isn’t enough space to keep them under cover, said Finch).

Finch said there will be a bulletin board set up at the barn so residents can post items they want to give away. Using posting forms available at the transfer station or the town office, the person donating the item is asked to describe it, provide a picture if possible, along with their name and contact information. Eventually, the posting forms will be available online, Finch said. The bulletin board will also be used to post useful information such as the pesticide disposal opportunity being offered this fall by the Main Board of Pesticides Control.

All items at the Second Chance Barn will be available to residents on a first-come, first-serve basis, and items will be removed periodically to allow space for other items. The transfer station employees will supervise the operation, whereas previously, the barn was virtually unsupervised.

Finch said residents who want to donate clothing they no longer want or need can give it to the Harrison Seventh-day Adventist Church at 2 Naples Road, which runs a clothing giveaway program.

“I’m sure it’s not going to satisfy everybody but I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Finch told selectmen.

The committee has also been working to clear up issues with the returnable bottle center. An agreement with a different redemption center has been negotiated, and they will be responsible for picking up the bottles and keeping the area clean. The building will be moved to a location closer to the Second Chance Barn once groundwork is completed in that area, Finch said.

Another longstanding problem at the Route 117 transfer station — lack of toilet facilities — will soon be addressed when the town’s road crew installs a septic system and plumbing on site. Throughout the year, work will continue on fencing off areas and moving things around for safety’s sake.

“There’s too much free flow of traffic up there,” said Finch. “So when all is said and done, when people see the gains we are making and the reasons for them, I think people will be satisfied.”

The town’s waste hauler, ecomaine, will be bringing recycling bins for residents on either Oct. 1 or Oct. 8, he said, and will provide residents with information on how to recycle different items.

Finch also reported to selectmen last week:

• Paving has been finished on Cape Monday Road. Because of excessive rain, the road crew was a little slow getting some of the driveways hooked in, but that work is nearly complete. Water runoff issues appear to have been addressed successfully, he said.

• The town’s new contract deputy from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, Robert Mailman, has begun work, and residents are reporting an increased visibility of him patrolling the town’s roads. Mailman is a 29-year veteran of the Gorham Police Department. Finch said Mailman is available to meet with residents in the town office, and he encourages folks who are hesitant to call 207-774-1444 to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with Mailman face-to-face to discuss any policing concerns they might have.

Selectmen voted to extend Finch’s contract to Aug. 31, 2012, with the understanding that Finch would inform them by April of next year if he plans to leave after August 2012. That way, Finch can help selectmen search for a replacement.

The board also agreed to discuss at their October meeting whether or not to take a formal stand in opposition to a proposal by Cumberland County Civic Center Trustees to borrow up to $30 million to revamp the Civic Center. Last week, most board members agreed the Civic Center was built in the wrong location, and new borrowing would impact county taxes that Harrison is obligated to help pay.

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