Bridgton selectmen support relief effort

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton Selectmen declined to commit taxpayer money to a relief fund to help the Canadian town of Lac Megantic following the July 6 oil tanker derailment that killed 47 people.

However, they are encouraging residents “to make any donations they felt were appropriate” to the local branch of TD Bank, in response to an appeal by the town of Farmington, Lac Megantic’s “sister city” across the border since 1991.

Farmington Selectmen, through its town manager, wrote to town officials in Bridgton and elsewhere in Maine seeking town-sponsored donations to the Lac Megantic Relief Fund. Bridgton Selectmen discussed the request, and decided against using town funds to support the effort.

Instead, they authorized Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz to issue a press release encouraging individuals to donate money to help Lac Megantic recover from the disaster.

The press release states that any funds donated will be used by the Canadian municipality to help with both “immediate needs and long-term reconstructive planning.” Checks and money orders should be made payable to the “Lac Megantic Relief Fund,” in care of TD Bank.

For more information, contact TD Bank at 647-5884, or the Bridgton Municipal Complex at 647-8786.

Trail grant

Selectmen gave the go-ahead for the town to look into applying for a grant that would fund a trail connecting Pondicherry Park with the Kendal and Anna Ham Recreation Complex.

Anne Krieg, director of planning, economic and community development, arranged a site visit with officials from the Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands that was held Aug. 16. The state’s PPL division has available grants in the six figures or less to build and maintain trails under its Recreational Trail Program.

The deadline for applying isn’t until November, and Krieg said much more research will need to be done to determine whether such a trail would fit the town’s needs. In a memo she noted that trails that connect one recreational resource with another were strongly advocated in the Lake Region Greenprint report, “as well as in discussions with BRAG,” referring to the Bridgton Recreation Advancement Group, the nonprofit that still owns the Ham Complex. The town and BRAG officials are continuing to work out the details that need to be in place before voters will decide whether to take over ownership of the complex.

Chairman Doug Taft noted that recreational vehicles are not allowed in Pondicherry Parks, which conflicts with the Recreational Trail Program, which allows such use.

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