Vassalboro Community Steps Up to Raise Funds to Repair Historic Mill
A Vassalboro man made it his mission to improve his neighborhood when he purchased the historic Olde Mill place in 2010.
After years of downtown revitalization efforts, the community he's helped is stepping up to give back to help him repair this local landmark.
"Kids want a downtown area. They want an area they can swim in during the summer time. They want a place so they can play basketball that they can call their downtown area. So I think this has become a hub for the community," said Victor Esposito, a teacher at Vassalboro Community School.
"That's the way it was back in the old days. This was the hub for Vassalboro."
Kim Kimball grew up in Vassalboro and says she's seen tremendous growth in the area thanks to one man.
In recent years, Ray Breton has purchased historic properties around town and he's built a playground, basketball court, swimming hole, and gazebo in the heart of downtown near the Old Mill.
"We also do Vassalboro Days and that's a big shindig in this town. We do the Double Dam Duck Derby - it's a big fundraiser for the Vassalboro Business Association," said Breton.
In addition to allowing businesses to use the mill for storage and warehouse space, the building also accommodates community events and weddings.
But the October 30th wind storm caused significant damage to the mill's roof, and now the Vassalboro community is looking to help the man who's done so much for their town.
"If anyone's got some spare money and they'd like to help out, we appreciate it because it's more than any one person could tackle and if you don't have a roof, you have nothing," said Breton.
"Someone who's taking it upon themselves to improve the community, building things for the kids, building a swimming hole. This is something that someone is doing out of the kindness of their own heart. They need help. This is one person and one man can't do it alone," said Kimball, a local LuLaRoe women's clothing seller.
Kimball is throwing a shopping fundraiser event at the Old Mill on Saturday from 12-4. Their target at the moment is to raise $250,000 - which will require a lot of help from the community.
"All our proceeds are going to the Vassalboro Fuel Fund, but we are having a raffle where we're going to be selling tickets for items that people are going to donate for the 'Save the Mill,'" said Linda Ellis, co-owner of the Olde Mill Place, a craft gift shop on-site.
A bank account set up at the Maine Savings Federal Credit Union has $4,000 in community donations. For information on Saturday's fundraiser, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/185932628625572/. For information on future funraising efforts, https://www.facebook.com/groups/787714818075573/about/.