Boothbay selectmen approve Route 27 improvement landscaping design

Posted:  Friday, February 16, 2018 - 8:00am

The roundabout will be getting a new look later this year. On Feb. 14, Boothbay selectmen approved a landscaping plan submitted by a local committee to spruce up Boothbay Center by adding some shrubs, flowers and trees into the newly constructed Route 27 Improvement Project. In October, selectmen appointed an eight-person design committee to produce a plan for project landscaping.

Selectmen appointed Abbe Levin, Tom Nickerson, Eliza Jones, Kathleen Marty, Lauren Bradley, Susan Whitehouse, Jen Dunlap and Linda Redman. The committee met seven times and designed a landscaping design with the aid of Sebago Technics architect Steve Doe. The committee’s goal is a design reflecting the community’s history and natural surroundings.

“We want the community to feel a sense of pride in the landscaping and want visitors to feel welcome,” said Redman, the committee’s chairman.

Doe explained the committee’s vision through four story boards detailing landscaping for the improvement project as it enters Boothbay Center and continues towards the roundabout and extending onto Corey Lane.

As Route 27 motorists enter Boothbay Center, they will first see a group of ornamental trees which Doe explained would project a rural environment. Then motorists encounter medians planted with deciduous flowers and shrubs and tall ornamental grass. The plan also calls for planting native Maine trees approximately six to eight feet high showing seasonal color. As motorists drive past the town hall, they will see taller plants like hydrangea which will screen the parking lot. A Colorado blue spruce will be planted in the roundabout’s center. As motorists exit the roundabout, there will be beds of plants and flowering trees.

Along Corey Lane, there will be several trees planted close together and native plants such as winterberry, red and orange dogwood and prosopis trees.

Selectmen were impressed by the committee’s vision and appreciated its efforts in working on the plan.

“I just wanted to say it looks like you did a lot of work on this and it looks absolutely great,” said Selectman Steve Lewis.

Boothbay Region Ambulance Service Director Robbie Ham also complimented the committee on its work. However, he has concerns about trees blocking sight lines for emergency vehicles entering the roundabout. The service’s entrance is located at the hill’s top and where vehicles accelerate out of the roundabout.

“I think this looks great, but I’d like some input on tree placement. I’d like to meet with you somewhere in this process and discuss it,” he said.

The committee agreed to review tree location with Ham. With selectmen’s approval, the committee will now seek landscaping bids. The project will receive no municipal financing and depends upon local fundraising. According to Town Manager Dan Bryer, the project has received financial commitments from local businessman Paul Coloumbe and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for partial funding. The committee is seeking more private funding and local volunteers.

The committee doesn’t have an estimated project cost. Bryer said once the committee starts receiving bids, it will then know how much funding is needed and request funds from Coloumbe and CMBG.