Edgecomb selectmen agreed to provide mowing and cleanup in 2023 for Highland Cemetery on Dodge Road. On Sept. 19, selectmen voted unanimously to serve as a stop-gap measure for the defunct Highland Cemetery Association. “They need a better plan than having the town taking over the association. In the meantime, I’m willing to do it for one year, so they can re-establish their association,” Selectman Mike Smith said.
Highland Cemetery dates back to the late 1800s, according to former association board member June Giles. She sought the town’s help after the association’s finances fell below expected 2023 mowing and cleanup costs. She estimated next year’s costs at $2,500. Giles reported the association only had a few hundred dollars in its checking and certificate of deposit accounts.
Giles reported a sharp reduction in burials in recent years had deeply impacted association revenues. She said the association only sold one $400 plot in the past few years. “No one is dying to get in there,” Giles said.
Selectmen plan on using $1,300 from the Hammond Fund for one-year cemetery maintenance. The fund was created in 1999 as a bequeath from Maro Hammond to benefit beautification projects within the town.
In other action, Board Chairman Dawn Murray is promoting a 2023 road safety campaign. Selectmen increased their lobbying efforts to slow traffic down in August after a resident approached them about Route 27 safety concerns. Mark Warren has lived on Route 27 for 21 years. He expressed his concerns to selectmen Aug. 8 about motorists speeding well beyond the posted 40 and 45 mph limits. Warren lives near the McKay Road intersection and described the situation as “an accident waiting to happen.”
Since then, selectmen have sought state and county help. The sheriff’s department loaned a large electronic sign for two weeks with a message encouraging Route 27 motorists to slow down. For Murray, the next step is a highly visible sign campaign urging motorists to slow down all over town. Besides Route 27, selectmen identified McKay, Cross Point and Eddy roads as highly traveled routes with motorists driving at high speeds. Selectmen discussed using American Rescue Plan Act funds to buy lawn signs urging motorists to slow down. “I’d like to see a joint-effort with MDOT (Maine Department of Transportation) for a 2023 road safety campaign,” Murray said. “We could buy 150 signs for $8.95 apiece and fundraise for more. We could use $1,300 in ARPA funds, and place them on the highly traveled roads.”
Smith updated selectmen on the town hall committee’s progress. The committee has met four times this year in discussing the building’s future. Smith along with George Chase, Bisi Cameron Yee and Dan Patrick are committee members. Last month, they met with consultant Lauren Stockwell to assess the property’s potential. “Our goal is making the property our government center for the next 50 years. We want long-term goals in promoting this great hall,” Smith said. “The plan is leaving the upstairs the same, and making a few changes downstairs.”
Smith reported the committee may meet one more time this year seeking an architect’s advice, before seeking a request for proposals in 2024. Selectmen also approved Amanda Russell as Schmid Advisory Board’s new recording secretary. Selectmen meet next at 6 p.m. Oct. 3 in the town hall.
This article has been updated from its original posting.