Demolition begins on William Haskell Community Center in Presque Isle

PRESQUE ISLE, Me (WAGM) It's a strange sight to see the Star City's longstanding community center come down...Demolition on the more than 70 year old building really got going on Thursday.

"It's sad to see it come down, but I'd rather see it come down than sit empty. And there are too many empty buildings around," said Kirk Carroll.

Carroll is purchasing the property from the city for 145,000 dollars. The owner of Carroll's Auto Sales plans to expand his business. David Steeves has worked for Carroll's and been a neighbor to the community center for the last 42 years.

"It's another old piece of Presque Isle coming down but the good thing is the old things go away and the new things come on...our business is expanding again for the third or fourth time since I've been here," he said.

Steeves also picked up his first ever paycheck from the William Haskell Community Center when he worked for the rec department as a lifeguard. He has many a memory in the old building- I asked his favorite.

"It had to have been dances when we were in high school, or before high school. Had to have been that," he said.

Ralph LaPointe worked in maintenance for the Rec Department since 1971 -- he was hired by Bill Haskell himself.

"Oh he was a good guy to work for. Very good. Nice guy. They all were all the people I've worked for in the 44 years have been good to work for. I've enjoyed it," he said.

Though the building provided years worth of memories for him too, he understands the need to take it down.

"It's sad but it isn't, it's gotta go...there's a nice building down there now and we're happy about it," said LaPointe.

The demolition should be complete within a few days according to Carroll. He adds that the things of value inside the building have already been salvaged. A building that may have lasted less than 100 years, but the impact it had on this community will last a lifetime.