Bathrooms eyed for Highland Lake Beach

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

New public bathrooms at Highland Beach Park top a short list of staff-recommended public facilities projects for 2015, using Bridgton’s annual allocation of Community Development Block Grant Funds.

Anne Krieg, Director of Planning, Economic and Community Development, told selectmen Feb. 10 the total expected funding will be around $180,000, slightly less than the previous year. Once administrative fees of $35,500 are taken out, along with another $25,000 for service projects, there’ll be around $119,500 available for infrastructure projects, she said.

The bathrooms have an estimated cost of $80,000. “That seems a little high, but we need to make it large enough, like the facilities at the Naples Town Beach,” Krieg said. She said the rules governing the use of CDBG funds make the construction of public restrooms at a town beach a suitable use of funding, given that the beach is adjacent to the town’s business district and is a heavily-used public park. Suitable public restrooms have also long been on the wish list of community development advocates as well.

For the remainder of the funding, Krieg is recommending the creation of a new parking lot on Main Hill. She said there’s a great need for more parking to serve Main Hill commercial businesses. The dilapidated building next to 54 Main Street would be torn down in order for the lot to be used for parking.

A third project would be $5,000 for exterior improvements to the Bridgton Community Center.

Selectman Paul Hoyt asked why none of the funding was earmarked toward continued improvements to the sewer system. Krieg said other state and federal funding sources were being explored for the sewer expansion project from Rural Development, the Department of Environmental Protection and other sources.

There will be no need to use CDBG funds for streetlights on Depot Street, Kreig said. There was enough money left over. She said she is working with local businesses and banks to donate funds to provide benches and trash receptacles.

Selectmen are expected to make a final decision on the projects at their next meeting. A decision is due to Cumberland County CDBG officials by April 1.


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