Community should rally behind the Nylander Museum

To the Editor:

The Caribou City Council is considering NOT funding the Nylander Museum which has long been a Caribou icon. We keep closing places of interest in Caribou and have so little history left. We need to stop closing our most valuable assets.

Councilor Joan Theriault’s thinking is misguided. Cutting $12,000 from the museum will not solve any budget difficulties.

We tolerated Urban Renewal ruining our quaint, homey downtown. Founding family legacy is being lost! Caribou became a city and our community dances to more state regulations. The bypass did not increase profit margins of most Caribou businesses. A new city charter came (oh, dear), dropping the Caribou Chamber of Commerce. We struggled to keep the Caribou Public Library open (what town does not have a public library).

This same thinking is now directed at the Nylander Museum. If this constant drainage of community pride doesn’t stop, we will end up with a hospital and a couple of funeral homes for our employment base.

If Theriault had researched more carefully, she would have realized the museum is open more than 3 hours a week. During the school year, children have the treat of visiting the Nylander.  Daycare providers enjoy giving their children a day trip as do senior groups. Our community clubs have ample motivation now to not only support the Nylander but to visit it. Area visitors have keen interest in the museum artifacts. Will we become infamous for closing down any sign of culture or heritage in The County?  

The largest budget areas are where a few thousand can be cut. There are new ways to encourage small businesses in town. Oops, I forgot, you already sold off the public parking lots so that won’t work.

Andrew Ketch paid 10 percent profit of farm stand rent to the Nylander for parking lot space to support the museum. If we forget our history we cannot plan a future that encourages young educated people to return home. People moved back to Caribou and Loring retirees settled here for the “quality of life.” Look at the number of empty buildings. Why do we want another closing — so children can go to Presque Isle for local culture? This museum may be their only contact with history or any museum. Many families cannot afford Boston or Washington, D.C., to broaden their child’s education.

Please financially support the Nylander. Urge Caribou councilors to consider a long-term commitment of $12,000 yearly to the Nylander.  

Hopefully, the next budget committee doesn’t find the councilors thinking we should close the Collins Walking Trail, or worse, tear down the UU Church (the first church in Caribou) because it blocks the sun on Tuesday and Friday.  

Councilors, stop trying to save nickels and dimes. Start saving dollars from the BIG budget items.

Caribou residents please support this small but impressive museum. Write a check for at least $20 — more if you can. Clubs pledge a few hundred.  This is our town, we need to protect it. Please let your money talk before our museum walks.

Norma Milton


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