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LEWISTON - The public is invited to join Museum L-A staff, board and supporters for a celebration on Saturday, April 16 to burn the mortgage marking the retirement of the debt to their new home at the former Camden Yarns Mill. "The Museum now owns the land and building free and clear and we'd like the community to help us celebrate since they helped us make it happen.," notes Rachel Desgrosseilliers, Museum L-A's executive director. "It's a big step forward for us and for the community," she added.

The April 16 event will run from 6-8 p.m. at the Beech Street location, adjacent to Simard-Payne Memorial Park - formerly known as Railroad Park. The centerpiece of the evening will be a bonfire for the burning of a replica mortgage. The bonfire will be built with the help of Abenaki District Boy Scout troops and their time helping will be credited toward their community service requirements. They will also be in charge of roasting marshmallows for s'mores and serving hot chocolate. Other activities include music for all to walk or dance across the nearby trestle footbridge to celebrate a bright future for the Twin Cities and Museum L-A; a bridge and candle lighting program; the unveiling of a sign marking the site as "Future Home of Museum L-A" and meeting the icon who has been chosen to represent the future Museum.

As part of a fun activity, Museum volunteers will have a 50 gallon drum at the site and are challenging the community to each come with a dollar bill as we try to fill the drum with dollars that will go toward the next phase of the project. The Museum staff and Board also challenge local businesses to collect dollar bills at their place of business and come down to drop their marked "bags of money" to help fill the drum. "Don't be shy," says Desgrosseilliers, "because if it starts filling up, we will find a way to make more room in the drum.

"We are going to have a lot of fun and we hope the community will join us," Desgrosseilliers said. "Paying off the mortgage in these difficult economic times in such a short time is a remarkable accomplishment and well worth celebrating." Now that the mortgage is paid off, the Museum will focus on raising funds to move into the next phase of development of the property which is the Interpretive Plan of the Exhibits and the Schematic Design of the new Museum L-A.

Museum L-A has just completed a structural evaluation of the Beech Street building. Selected demolition and stabilization work will be happening throughout the summer and fall. The plan is to preserve as much of the original structure as possible and plan enough space in Phase I of the project to transfer existing Museum activities.

Parking is available at the garages on Chestnut and Lincoln streets as well the lot behind Yvon's Supersonic Car Wash on Lincoln Street and at the corner of Lincoln and Cedar streets.

Volunteers are needed to help in preparation for the event as well as at the event itself. All interested should call 333-3881 or email