Citizens question reported Boothbay Common name change during open house about roundabout

Posted:  Friday, October 13, 2017 - 8:00am

About 50 residents attended an hour-long open house Oct. 11 and asked selectmen questions about the ongoing Route 27 Improvement Plan. The event was first-term Selectman Kristina Ford’s idea to provide information about the ongoing construction project. Residents had numerous informal conversations with selectmen throughout the building. Many of the conversations began with the roundabout’s progress and proceeded to current and future municipal project topics.

Following the meeting, selectmen were asked what the most frequent question was. Selectman Chuck Cunningham answered, “Who is paying for the landscaping?” Selectman Kristina Ford said, “Who is paying for the lighting?” Selectmen responded that landscaping, being done through volunteer work, has a minimal cost. The lighting is also a minimal cost being covered as part of the $3.3 million project. And the most controversial question most frequently asked had nothing to do with the roundabout. Selectman Steve Lewis said it was, “When did they change Boothbay Center’s name to Village Square?”

It seemed a vocal majority of Boothbay residents consistently told board members they opposed the name change. The question was prompted by an Oct. 5 Boothbay Register article about Paul Coulombe’s vision for the Clipper Mart, a proposed community ice rink on Boothbay Common and other plans. The article stated, “(There) are changes occurring at Boothbay Center, or Village Square, as it’s now called.”

Among those in opposition was Cunningham. “Let me state this for myself. Boothbay Center will always be Boothbay Center.” Residents who remained for the subsequent selectmen’s meeting greeted Cunningham’s pronouncement with a loud ovation. Lewis assured residents there are no plans to rename Boothbay Center. “It’s not something we can do anyway. Something like that would have to be brought before the voters,” he said.

The event gave residents a chance to view various maps and construction plans for the Route 27 improvement project. At the conclusion, several residents thanked selectmen for holding the event.

“It went well and I’m pleased with the attendance. There were a lot of great questions and energy in the room, tonight. It was nice to see so many people engaged in the project,” Cunningham said.

Residents were also asked to put suggestions for municipal improvements on a slip of paper. Ford volunteered to compile the results and provide them at the next board meeting.