Bridgton notes: Town purchases property as part of WW project

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Another piece of the wastewater system expansion puzzle has been put into place.

Following an executive session Tuesday night, selectmen voted to purchase a 21.60-acre parcel located behind the nursing home (Bella Point) on Portland Road. The negotiated price is $55,000 to Bridgton Health Care Associates.

Town Manager Robert Peabody said three potential sites for the wastewater system had been identified, and the one purchased met size and soil specifications.

In other meeting notes,

Give the people what they voted for. Colin Dinsmore of HEB Engineering heard the message loud and clear when it comes to what selectmen expect to see as part of the streetscape project.

Selectmen voiced displeasure with some changes made to the plan, such as dumping the use of color or accents as part of concrete work in favor of the “standard gray.” Dinsmore said the concrete would be “scored” to create decorative patterns and “break up the appearance” and not “stamped.”

After selectmen pushed to stick with the plan that voters agreed to support (meaning color is back in the picture), Dinsmore agreed to hold three meetings with officials to discuss project particulars before the package goes out to bid.

“We want just to get it right,” Board chairman Lee Eastman added. 

Officials were happy to see an actual graphic of an existing light post compared to new posts (that graphic can be seen on the town’s website).

State roadwork. Town officials were notified by the Maine Department of Transportation that it will resurface portions of Route 302. The project begins .10 miles east of Route 35 in Naples and extends 7.19 miles to Route 117 in Bridgton. The project goes out to bid in March.

Once resurfaced, motorists will be happy to learn that it will hopefully stay smooth for the next three years. MDOT says no permit to open this segment of highway will be granted for a period of three years with very limited exceptions.

Officer resigns. Bridgton Police is losing one of its veteran officers. Officer Donald “Mac” McCormick has resigned from the BPD effective Jan. 17. He had been a member of the BPD for the past 12 years (previously, he worked two years in Bethel). He is moving on to the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department. “We thank him for his service to the town and wish him the best with his new endeavor,” Town Manager Robert Peabody wrote in his Manager’s Report.

Certified. Finance Officer Charisse Keach has earned recertification as a Certified Municipal Treasurer. Certification requires that applicants receive training in a number of courses that relate to their field of expertise.

Appointed. Wherever Bruce Hancock has resided, he looks to get involved. Hearing from a neighbor that a vacancy exists on the Bridgton Board of Appeals, Hancock offered to serve. And, selectmen accepted the offer (5-0).

Hancock served two terms on the SAD 61 Board of Directors, including a stint on the personnel committee. He worked 32 years for the U.S. Postal Service, 30 years “off and on” for L.L. Bean, and five years at Apple Computer.

Board Chairman Lee Eastman pointed out that the BOA handles some “pretentious” situations and asked Hancock if he would recuse himself if need be.

“If there was a conflict of interest, then to recuse would be appropriate,” said Hancock, who has been retired for 11 years. “I am not sure an opinion would be a conflict of interest. We all have opinions. So, I would need to look at it.”

The term is for five years, and Hancock begins work on Jan. 9.

“Good luck,” Selectman Bob Murphy said after making the motion to accept Hancock’s appointment.

The Appeals Board includes Sharon Smith Abbott, Mark Harmon and John Schuettinger (chairman).

• Selectmen also appointed Fred Packard as a nominee to the Eastern Slope Airport Authority. A new 11-member board is being created. It will include three directors from Fryeburg, two from Conway and six at-large that can be from any town in the Airport Authority’s service area.

“While we seek people with an interest in general aviation, the operation of an airport requires numerous skills and backgrounds; a pilot’s license or plane ownership is not a requirement to be on the board,” said Thomas Holmes, ESA Nominating Committee chairman.

Nominations are due Jan. 11.

The existing board of directors will dissolve upon the creation of the new board, which will be responsible for the oversight of ongoing Eastern Slope Airport operations.

Using Block money for sidewalks? Selectman Bear Zaidman asked for a workshop to discuss using some Community Development Block Grant money to address sidewalks that will not fall under the approved wastewater and streetscape projects. Zaidman asked that Public Works Director Jim Kidder develop a list of sidewalks that should be looked at. The workshop is set for Jan. 22 at 3 p.m.

Selectmen make recommendations on CDBG grant uses by March 26, and then submit those projects to county officials by March 29.

Piece of advice about legal services. As a member of the planning board, Deb Brusini values the skills and opinions of the town’s law firm as the group wades through some uncharted waters, such as developing standards for marijuana storefronts. So with selectmen planning to look at other options, Brusini made a pitch to stay the course, at least for now as the town tackles some sticky issues.

Brusini noted that when faced with complex projects, “it is good to have some consistency.” She pointed out that one attorney that has worked with the planning board has just been named to a state advisory commission on marijuana — “she’s very connected to give us advice,” Brusini added.

Eastman said the board’s review of legal services is a matter of officials doing their “due diligence” and determining what is best for the town and taxpayers. He added that yesterday’s workshop session was the start of the fact-finding mission, which will likely take some time before a final decision is made.

Victualer license renewals were approved for the Magic Lantern (pub/theater) and Campfire Grille. The board also approved a special amusement permit (occasional band or DJ from 8 to 11 p.m.) for Campfire Grille.

Permission granted to the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce to use Highland Lake Beach area on Feb. 16 as the site for the Winter Carnival. Activities will include Freezing for a Reason Polar Dip (to benefit Harvest Hills Animal Shelter), horse-drawn wagon rides, juggler, magician, children’s ice fishing derby, adult ice bar, all-day music, food vendors and fireworks (6 p.m.).

Honoring one of Bridgton’s own. Local officials received an interesting note via Facebook just before Christmas. Army Major Brian Burbank, who is originally from Sidney, Maine, sent a note regarding his and his family’s recent visit to Arlington National Cemetery to take part in the Wreaths Across America project.

“I had the pleasure and honor to lay a wreath on Sgt. George Libby’s grave. Because he had earned the Medal of Honor, I did a quick Google search and found he was from Bridgton, Maine. It felt good to honor someone who had put his life on the line to save others. Sgt. Libby’s sacrifice enables others to live. I’m glad I had, by complete coincidence, the chance to honor one of Maine’s own. Thanks,” he wrote.

The white gravestone has a cross at the top followed underneath by George Dalton Libby (1919-1950), Medal of Honor, Sgt., U.S. Army, Korea.

Next meetings: Jan 22 and Feb. 12 at 5 p.m.

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