GREENVILLE, Maine — Not many school systems in Maine have their own woodlot. But for those that do, it can be a timely source of income during a tight budget year.
Technically, the town of Greenville owns a 228-acre lot off Marsh Farm Road, but it has been considered part of the school system since at least the early 1970s.
It has also been 22 years since any harvesting has been done on the lot. In the view of Greenville School Committee member Mike Theriault, this is an ideal year to do some selective cutting.
“The last time it was partially cut was in 1991,” Theriault said recently. “Since then, nobody has really discussed another harvest. But when money is tight and you want to make improvements in the school system, everything should be considered. To me, this is a decision that’s long overdue.”
Theriault owns some timberland and said that harvesting the lot could generate $100,000 or more for the school system. “We discussed it at the last school committee meeting and everyone is on board with it,” he said. “We passed a budget that was really tight, and I’d like to see us dig in our heels and get it done this winter.”
Retired educator Richard Gould agrees. “I was on the Board of Selectmen back then (in 1991); and as I recall, they did a limited harvest of the lot,” Gould said. “So after 22 years, it would certainly be appropriate to do some selective cutting again.”
Gould also served on the Greenville School Committee for many years.
One problem with the section of Marsh Farm Road where the lot is located is accessibility. “This has to be a winter harvest. You can’t get to the lot unless the ground is frozen,” Theriault said. “Because it’s so far out, it really serves no educational purpose.”
Theriault also said that he would like to see any money derived from the woodlot harvesting placed into one of the Louis Oakes trust fund accounts rather than the school’s general fund. “That way, we know it will directly benefit the students,” Theriault said.
Oakes was a longtime Greenville resident and philanthropist who built and donated the Greenville school building in 1936 and the land for Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft. He died in 1964 at the age of 93.
He was the brother of Sir Harry Oakes, multimillionaire mining executive, who discovered one of the world’s richest gold deposits in Ontario.
There are three separate accounts that directly benefit Greenville Consolidated School: the Oakes Curriculum Trust Fund, the School Building Trust Fund and a Maintenance Indexed Money Market Account.
More details may be discussed at the July 29 Greenville School Committee meeting.