August 14, 2016
The Maine Army National Guard's 262nd Engineer Company (Horizontal) is moving forward with construction of a new parking lot at the YMCA's outdoor education center.
Work began Aug. 2 on North River Road in Auburn. The Guard project is part of the ongoing development of the Y's 93-acre Outdoor Education & Learning Center.
The labor and equipment for the project is provided through the Guard's Innovative Readiness Training Program. IRT projects provide mission-essential training for the Guard while strengthening the bond between local communities and the Maine National Guard.
Cpt. Kerry Boese, commander of the 262nd, said the partnership allows his soldiers to get the training they need and is happy that it saves the YMCA money. “This project allows our younger, inexperienced soldiers to get in and do some of the heavy lifting with the guidance of our more experienced soldiers. When that part is complete the more experienced folks can do the finesse work.”
The YMCA plans to use the gravel lot for additional access onto the property, said Victoria Stanton, Director of Marketing and Advancement.
“The space will be maintained year-round to allow members of the community to take advantage of the YMCA’s trail system. The trails will be groomed for hiking and mountain biking, as well as snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
"The site also will be the future point of entry for our summer camp programs, which will fully transition to the Outdoor Education & Learning Center in summer 2018,” said Stanton.
Boese expects 10 days from start to finish to complete the project. “It’s all about giving back to the community and getting soldiers trained for any state or federal mission.”
The total value of the Guard's contribution will be calculated upon completion of the project, but early estimates put the figure at about $30,000. Adding site prep and materials donated by St. Laurent & Sons Construction, the final total contributions for creating the access road and gravel lot will exceed $50,000.
The 262nd Engineer Company (Horizontal) is headquartered in Westbrook, Maine, with 150 members. The unit operates heavy engineer equipment, such as dozers and front-end loaders, to build roads, airfields, and move tons of earth and material.