CUMBERLAND — The town’s need for more space at its Public Works facility by 2017 has resulted in the Cumberland Woodbank being asked to find a new home.
The wood bank, a community-based nonprofit organization now in its eighth year, provides firewood to area families in need. Money the wood bank raises through sales to those who can afford wood goes toward buying fuel for those in need who cannot burn wood.
The wood bank has been operating for about three years at the rear of the town’s Public Works facility on Drowne Road.
When the town in the summer of 2017 closes out the demolition landfill at that site, it must move a sand pile and salt shed to elsewhere on the site, Town Manager Bill Shane said in an interview Monday.
“When we do that, we’re going to be pretty much maximized on the town garage site, which is … where the wood bank is,” Shane said. “… We’ve basically given them all the excess room we have, and they’ve gotten to be a big operation. Which is great, and I’m really happy for them. But I also don’t want (them) to be shoehorned into a corner somewhere, where they just can’t function.”
“It isn’t that we don’t want them there,” the manager added. “It’s just that we’re going to run out of room.”
Bruce Wildes, who chairs the committee that collects, processes and delivers the wood, said in an interview Dec. 18 that it is a good time for the wood bank to be seeking another location.
“When this pile is gone, I’d like to bring the new inventory into another location,” Wildes said.
The wood bank – which according to Wildes has collected and processed nearly 100 cords of donated wood this year – is looking for a flat, half acre that logging trucks and work crews can access, and where the neighbors will not be disturbed.
The space would be a little bigger than the area the Woodbank currently uses, Wildes said.
Wood bank volunteers have been in touch with the Cumberland Fairgrounds about moving there, and the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine has indicated that it has land on Range Road that could be used when needed. North Yarmouth’s Public Works Department has also offered space, Wildes said.
“We definitely have got some options already,” he said.
The wood bank will hold its fourth annual “Free Eat for Heat Wood Bankquet” at the Cumberland Congregational Church, 282 Main St., at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. Donations will be accepted at the door, and all proceeds will support the wood bank and fuel assistance. Those who pre-register qualify for a door prize.
Log onto woodbank.org for more information about the Bankquet and the Woodbank, or to offer new location ideas.
David Chadwick of Yarmouth prepares to toss a log onto the Cumberland Woodbank’s ever-growing mountain of lumber. Chadwick was part of a group from IDEXX Laboratories that offered volunteered to collect and process wood Friday, Dec. 18.
David Chadwick of Yarmouth, left, and Joel Wezowicz of Gorham, both employees of IDEXX Laboratories, collected and process lumber for the Cumberland Woodbank on Friday, Dec. 18.