Selectmen consider options to improve Boothbay Common’s grounds

Cunningham suggests considering giving it a summer off
Posted:  Friday, October 12, 2018 - 8:45am

A selectman wants the town to consider giving Boothbay Common a summer off. At the board’s Oct. 10 meeting, Chairman Chuck Cunningham posed the question about giving the Common some recovery time. Cunningham described the grounds as an “eyesore” due to large patches of dead grass and unlevel ground. He proposed giving the Landscape Committee another task by having the eight-person advisory panel consider ways to revive the Common’s appearance.

“I think we need to give them another project. Something needs to be done. We’ve done a lot to improve the appearance around the Common with the Route 27 Improvement Project. So I think it’s time we take a look at the Common, and I think it may include giving it a summer off.”

Selectman Steve Lewis agreed the town had neglected the Common’s appearance for too long. He remembered last year seeing problems with the grounds during an inspection. Last year,  Lewis and other board members inspected the Common for a possible municipal ice rink placement. “I was surprised when we visited the Common to see how bad a shape it was in,” he said.

Selectmen directed Town Manager Dan Bryer to contact the Landscaping Committee members to see if they were interested in making a recommendation for Boothbay Common improvements. Selectmen appointed the committee last year to approve a landscaping plan to spruce up Boothbay Center by adding shrubs, flowers and trees into the newly constructed Route 27 Improvement Project. In October, selectmen appointed a design committee to produce a plan for project landscaping. The committee met seven times and designed landscaping with the aid of project consultant Sebago Technics' architect Steve Doe. 

The selectmen are also waiting for Sargent Construction of Stillwater to complete work on a couple remaining items on the Route 27 Improvement Project’s punch list. One unfinished item is the landscaping within the roundabout. During the meeting, Bryer reported the landscaping looked better after the grass grew higher than the weeds. He said the town is still waiting for Sebago Technics' approval that Sargent has completed all punch list items. Once the project is complete, the town will release a final payment of approximately $35,000 to Sargent’s.

In other action, the town is looking into a possible grant for an electric car charging station. Last summer, town officials met with Central Maine Power representatives about power outage problems on Barters Island. During a break, a CMP official told Bryer about a grant for municipal electric car charging stations. Bryer told selectmen, the town could apply for the $2,400 grant.

“There are some charging stations at local businesses, but I was told municipal ones are few and far between, and I wanted to make the board aware of this possibility,” Bryer said. Selectmen want Bryer to research potential electricity costs, and who would pay for it, before applying.

Boothbay also received word from Maine Aqua Ventus about a proposed off-shore wind farm project slated for Monhegan Island. Earlier this year, project officials contacted selectmen about partnering with Boothbay. Maine Aqua Ventus is considering using Boothbay as a location for connecting cables from two offshore turbines to the mainland. Last spring, Maine Aqua Ventus tested soils off East Boothbay to see if it was a suitable site.

But months passed before Maine Aqua Ventus updated municipal officials. Bryer reported the soil tests were complete, but the project has been put on hold. “They haven’t released the test results, but they told us they are doing some funding raising for their portion of the matching federal grant funds.”

Selectmen will meet next at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the municipal building’s conference room.