Every year the Boothbay Harbor selectmen go over their yearly goals and what they hope to accomplish for the town.
Selectman Wendy Wolf said her goals included looking at the long-term strategic plan (also known as the comprehensive plan), and to figure out as a group what the role of selectmen should be in implementing it.
Last year, Selectman Bill Hamblen said something similar, suggesting that the plan not “sit on a shelf and gather dust” but instead be used.
Wolf also spoke about building some support into the town budget to support economic development and the newly completed comprehensive plan.
Hamblen agreed with Wolf's goals, and also spoke about increasing the transparency of town government and continuing to work with the Boothbay Region Ambulance Service.
“(BRAS) is our largest budget item, and it needs continued work,” Hamblen said. “We need to work with them, not against them.”
Hamblen also talked about connecting with the chamber of commerce and business community more, and possibly restarting meetings between the selectmen and chamber.
Selectman Russ Hoffman said that working with BRAS was the top of his list as well, and that he has enjoyed being on the board and seeing improvements. His other goal, which was the same as last year’s, was to work to fill the empty seats on town boards and committees. While there has been improvement over last year, volunteers are still needed.
New selectman Tricia Warren brought her goals to the table for the first time. She spoke about beautifying the region and supporting small businesses, and also about working to attract more of them to the area. She also suggested looking at the parking code in town and figuring out how to make it work for both locals and tourists, and how they could encourage people to stay in town longer. She also wants to work toward getting the town more involved with the local schools.
Chairman Denise Griffin said the other selectmen pretty much covered her list, with the exception of working with the planning board on ordinance reviews to make the town code clearer to residents and more updated.
Some of last year's goals that were achieved included: completing the fish pier; building the new public works cold storage building; maintaining the tax rate; and getting the town website updated.
Several goals from last year carried over into this year, including: increasing livability of the town; working with local businesses; and renovating the former tennis courts “town gateway” area.
There was a presentation during the public forum portion of the meeting by Planning Board Chairman Mike Tomko, where he presented a new concept drawing for the town gateway. The concept was created by registered landscape architect Don Leighton.
“(The concept drawing) reflects ideas and impressions that both Don Leighton and I feel are essential to welcome visitors and inviting local residents at the gateway to our town,” Tomko said.
The gateway park concept includes a flagpole, sidewalks, and two gathering areas with fences and landscaping, including a bridge and picnic tables. The Blue Star Memorial, and Alfred B. Sherman plaque are also showcased in the concept design, and parking changes have been made.
“Parking to the north has been gently softened by the addition of landscape beds, several stone walls, and shade trees,” Tomko said after the meeting.
The new concept design also includes a court, but a multi-use one rather than a basketball one that could be used for “basketball, shuffle board, pickleball, volleyball, roller hockey, and any of a variety of outdoor activities,” Tomko said.
Tomko mentioned that Leighton would be happy to work with the town selectmen and Danielle Betts of Knickerbocker Group, who is currently designing the gateway for the town.
He also stated that he had spoken with several members of the community about his ideas, including Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tony Cameron, Spruce Point Inn owner Joe Paolillo, Boothbay Region Greenhouses owner Bob Boyd, YMCA Executive Director Andy Hamblett, and Boothbay Town Manager Dan Bryer.
“All have expressed a strong interest in promoting a thoughtful design that highlights a sense of place while being both functional and welcoming,” Tomko said.
The selectmen thanked Tomko for his input, but did not take any action.