Going on three years ago, my wife and I bought a house in Hampden. For me, it was kind of an informal homecoming, as Hampden is the town I feel I grew up in the most. I went to all my school years there, and have always loved Hampden's small-town vibe. It has its inconveniences, and its perks.

One thing I heard about when we first moved there that I thought was super cool, was the "swap garage" at the transfer station. I also learned when we moved there, that's the modern, nicer name for the town dump. But this little garage was great. Folks could leave their used, but still good items, and take some for themselves if they chose.

We definitely took advantage of this service on a few occasions, and always remarked what a little treat it was. It was basically like a free Goodwill. As my grandmother used to say..."from a little, take a little, leave a little." That concept worked out great at that little garage. And then along came COVID-19.

Like most things, COVID shut down our beloved little swap garage. But, fast-forward a year and bunch of restrictions lifted later, and the swap garage is still closed, much to the chagrin of residents. To the point where folks are regularly posting their dissatisfaction on social media.

There's a Facebook page called Hampden, ME Area Swap and Sell and folks have been expressing their joys and concerns through this outlet. But through this medium, folks are being urged to let town officials know how they feel about not having the swap garage. Naturally, some folks feel like they're getting the runaround. Scope the thread...

The town has many reservations about opening the garage back up, but it seems this issue isn't going to go away quietly, as folks are preparing to show up at town council meetings to make their feelings known. Will it help? We'll see. Does the concept need some refining? Maybe. But getting rid of it altogether doesn't seem what residents want.

Also bear in mind..... Hampden residents PAY for to bring their trash to the dump. So not only does no one come get it, you have to pay an annual fee for the privilege of bringing your trash to the dump. So it stands to reason, if we're paying for the service, maybe residents should have a say in this issue. We'll see.....

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