OAKLAND — After nearly a year of fundraising, the town has started to build its long-sought gazebo at the boat landing and beach on Messalonskee Lake.

“This has generated a lot of excitement in the town of Oakland,” Town Manager Gary Bowman said. “It’s surprising to me how quickly we were able to raise $35,000.”

About a dozen Oakland officials turned out for a ceremony Friday to mark the new gazebo, which is at the boat landing off Belgrade Avenue.

A committee led by Mike Willey set out to get the project done more than a year ago. The town has been trying to get a gazebo on and off over the past 15 years, according to Bowman, but this time around they just “got the right people on the team.”

“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “We’ve had so many wins over the last three years” such as the new police department and OakFest.

Bowman said that the “buy in” from the public has been important, and that people seem to feel “really good about their community.”


The committee set up a GoFundMe account to raise donations and has collected just under $35,000 now.

“The nice thing is, it’s going to add to the quality of life here,” he said. The town hopes to have local bands play in the gazebo in the summer and to have the schools use it as an outdoor classroom.

The town hasn’t put any money into the project, though the Town Council did consider giving the committee $10,000 from the recreation fund if it couldn’t reach its goal.

Bowman said that 80 people donated to the project, including 27 who gave $500 each and local businesses that gave $2,500.

The largest donation of $5,000 was made in remembrance of Cassidy Charette, a 17-year-old Messalonskee High School student dedicated to volunteering who was killed in a hayride accident in 2014.

Those who gave $500 or more will be recognized at the gazebo in some way, Bowman said, although the committee has not decided which route it will take.


The committee has ordered a 30-foot dodecagon, or 12-sided, gazebo from Sweet Dreams Home Furnishings in Brunswick that cost $21,984. The gazebo was manufactured by an Amish family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Bowman said.

The Public Works Department should complete the site work this week, he said, and the gazebo should arrive in a kit in July so the town can start putting it together. Bowman hopes to have it ready in time for OakFest at the end of July.

The gazebo will be large enough to fit 12 tables inside it, and the committee has yet to decide whether it will rent out the space or let people use it for free.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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