Boothbay Region Lions Club has a new den. The club recently sold its Boothbay Harbor clubhouse and moved into the East Boothbay fire station. Since the early 1960s, the former West Boothbay Harbor school house on Lakeview Road served as a twice per month meeting spot. But a combination of increased maintenance costs and a decreasing membership resulted in a decision to seek a new clubhouse.
The Lions looked around for a new spot without success, until a former Boothbay fire chief suggested an East Boothbay location. “Everything we looked at was too expensive,” said board member Karen Nickerson. “Then my husband (Tom Nickerson) suggested the East Boothbay fire station. So I contacted Jack Barry and we went from there.”
The rental agreement seems tame for Lions officials. There is no rent, but the club is responsible for building maintenance. So far, the Lions have bought a new oven and they plan to install a new door. “Our move is in part to spur growth. We also want to revive this building as well,” said board member Glenn Tilton. “Our rent is helping put this building back into better shape and I think this is a good deal for everyone.”
The club has 22 active members. It found it difficult keeping pace with mounting building maintenance costs for its Boothbay Harbor property. Tilton estimates the old clubhouse had approximately $10,000 per year in maintenance costs. So after a half century calling one place home, the Lions decided it was time for a change in scenery.
“We will miss calling the building our own, but we won’t miss the expense of upkeep,” Nickerson said.
The new location has something in common with the previous one. Both were former schools. The Lions brought an old chalkboard used in the old Boothbay Harbor School to the former East Boothbay Grammar School.
Boothbay Region Lions Club incorporated in 1953. According to Tilton, the highest number of active members was about 45. The club meets twice per month for fellowship, good food and a shared mission of performing good deeds.
The new clubhouse makes it Lions debut Nov. 13. The club sponsors local youth events, Fall Foliage at Boothbay Railway Village and kids’ visual screening programs. Lions Club International is a world service organization with 1.4 million members with approximately 46,000 chapters in more than 200 countries, according to the Lions’ website.