Resident complains about Civil War monument’s condition

Selectmen consider seeding or sodding site
Posted:  Friday, July 13, 2018 - 8:15am

A Boothbay resident thinks the town made a monumental mistake in how it maintained the Civil War Memorial this year. Back River Road resident Tom Nickerson described the monument on Route 27 as a “mess” during the July 11 selectmen’s meeting.

The “mess" is a large swath of bare ground surrounding the monument. Nickerson complained that for nearly two years the town has failed to properly maintain the monument’s appearance.

“We owe it to our veterans. This should have been done in the spring, or at least by Memorial Day or the Fourth of July. It still isn’t done,” Nickerson said. “I don’t know what’s on the remaining Route 27 punch list, but I think growing some grass there should be the first thing.”

Town Manager Dan Bryer explained the location was reseeded this spring, but grass failed to grow. Town officials heeded Nickerson’s advice and will seek a local landscaper’s advice to either seed or sod the location. Bryer will seek a recommendation from Farley & Sons of Rockport. Bryer expects within two weeks the public works crew will have grass growing at the monument.

The monument was erected in 1879 in recognition of Boothbay’s 265 soldiers and sailors who served in the Civil War.

In other action, Boothbay is seeking a $300,000 federal Land and Water Grant for redeveloping Clifford Park. In 2014, the town unveiled a proposed plan. The proposal would have created more usable field space and recreational opportunities.

“I’m applying for the maximum and see what happens,” Bryer said. The grant is a 50/50 cost split, according to the Maine Bureau of Park and Lands.

The Clifford Park conceptual plan includes expanding from one Little League baseball field to three, creating more space for the soccer and lacrosse field, a playground, a dog park, walking trails and a lighted baseball diamond.

Selectmen hoped to finance the redevelopment by using tax increment financing funds, but the Department of Economic and Community Development denied their request. Without TIF monies, selectmen tabled the project. 

The town is working with state officials to seek a Land Water Community Fund grant. On Aug. 31, Bryer will host a Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands representative who will inspect Clifford Park to see if it qualifies for federal funding.

Bryer also updated selectmen about upcoming training sessions for the planning board. In the past year, three new members joined the board. The new members combined with the departure of long-serving chairman Alan Bellows, whose term expired June 30, has left a relatively inexperienced planning board.

Members are holding a series of special workshops in hopes of becoming more acclimated to board procedures such as holding hearings and findings of facts.

The workshops include reviewing past applications with current Code Enforcement Officer Jason Lorrain and past officer Dan Bryer serving as applicants. “They’re looking at undergoing some multifaceted training because some of them are still pretty new to this,” Bryer said. “They will review the applications and become more comfortable with what questions they need to ask.” Planning board members will also undergo Maine Municipal Association training, according to Bryer.

Selectmen reappointed Chuck Cunningham as chairman and Steve Lewis as vice chairman for one year each.

The board meets next at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8 in the municipal building’s conference room.