On the Bridgton planning front

Anne Krieg

Anne Krieg

By Anne Krieg, AICP

Director of Planning, Economic & Community Development

Town of Bridgton

I am sitting in my office with hiking boots and hiking clothes on, which feels weird as I usually go for the formal dress look for work. I hiked Pondicherry Park this morning with Rec Director Gary Colello and local all-around good guy, Rev. Craig Hacker. This was part of a walk series for Opportunity Alliance, which published a great booklet of hikes in the Lakes Region.

You can download this guide online: http://www.publichealthprogram.org/pdfs/17EasyWalksInTheLakesRegion2015.pdf

I love the Pondicherry trail system; you can get a 30-minute walk in the woods in on your lunchtime or after work, and, I like to use it to walk to Hannaford from Depot Street, which is great! The town even now has a Park Ranger out of the Police Department that you will see in this park, which is great news!

The BuildMaine conference in late May was fantastic. I was able to reconnect with my fellow planning and development colleagues and learn a few things about streetscape planning. I also attended, as a vendor, at the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo at the Mount Washington Omni; this was a gorgeous location and I was able to make some good contacts.

Plans for BikeMaine are moving along well. Carrye Castleman-Ross of Depot Street Tap House has a wonderful lineup for entertainment and Carmen Lone at the Bridgton Community Center, along with Joel Hapgood from Campfire Grille, have the meal plans well under control. We had a technical site visit from BikeMaine staff to finalize where everyone and everything is going and our emergency plan just got finalized today! Bridgton Academy folks are sending their students to help unload the trucks when the cyclists’ stuff arrives on Sept. 14 and sending them off on the 15th. All that is left is organizing the businesses and local institutions to plan for programming and staying open for the evening of their stay on the Sept. 14. They will be here before we know it as we all know how fast the summer goes by — I have heard many a true Mainer say on the 5th of July, “Well, summer’s over!” (Not for me, I push it as long as possible!)

Town Hall renovations will be moving forward. We finalized the new contract and are working through the funding requirements. You will see the folks from Doten’s Construction of Freeport on the site very soon.

Depot Street is almost done! I am very pleased with how it is turning out. The engineer (Milone & MacBroom) and the contractor (J Pratt) have been great to work with — we have had some challenges with power/cable, grading and landscaping and they addressed every one of the situations with professionalism, timeliness and tact. I hope folks will enjoy the new space. Local businesses such as Norway Savings, Maine EcoHomes, Magic Lantern, the Lions Club and others have offered to buy benches. You will be hearing from me over the next two weeks to finalize this part of the project.

The Land Use & Zoning Committee has commenced their work. This is a great bunch of residents that are very knowledgeable and dedicated. Watch for public workshop notices to come as they will need your input as they move forward with directing me to write up the language. I will also create a page for them on the town’s website as soon as I can so you can follow their work and see what documents that they read as part of their work.

On a personal note, one of my mentors in the land use law world in the Boston area was visiting her camp in Denmark and had me over for dinner. It was great to talk shop and then move the conversation to family and world events. My family moved to Maine in 2002, but the 17 years prior to that I lived in Massachusetts (don’t hold it against me now) and I am always happily surprised when I find another Massachusetts person I know that has a place up here!

I also taught a Planning 101 class to my son Gabriel’s fifth grade class at Stevens Brook Elementary School. They broke into groups and created their own town, map and all. What was striking was that each group focused heavily on every kind of recreational use you can think of; in sharp contrast, when I used to perform this exercise in Massachusetts, the focus always was on shopping. I love doing this lesson plan with kids as I learn so much from them!

Public Works Director Jim Kidder and I are working with Trout Unlimited and other agencies on a possible fish passage culvert improvement grant. This grant, if awarded, would rebuild the culvert on Brown Mill Road in North Bridgton. Not only will this help those who fish (as the improvement to the culvert allows fish to not have to jump up a grade to traverse the stream) it will rebuild and protect the area from flooding as the new culvert will have a larger design.

The town is working with Cumberland County on a video for economic development and our recreation activities. As we work with this more, we will let you know what will be in the video and we have it on our web page.

The town had their thank you picnic to volunteers and staff at Wildwood Camp in Bridgton. The board of selectmen manned the grill, and though the weather kept many folks away, the food was great and we had a good time. The camp kindly allows us to use their lodge so the event is not weather dependent.

Nelle Ely is working hard on the wayfinding sign project. I enjoy going to her studio to watch progress and help solve any issues. We hope to have the first signs up soon.

The Greater Portland Council of Governments held their annual meeting on June 17. I have spent the last year representing your interests on the executive committee, and I was just elected for next year to be the second vice president. This is good news for Bridgton to be well represented at this organization.

I spoke to the folks at GPCOG and Regional Transportation regarding the bus from Bridgton to Portland and as soon as I know the start date for this service, you will know! The success of this bus service lies with the usage of the bus, so when it starts, I would heartily encourage you to give it a try!

With Oxford Hills SCORE, the Small Business Administration and also with the Chamber and the Bridgton Economic Development Corporation, we are planning to hold a “Start Your Business Here” seminar at Shawnee Peak on Aug. 20. We will be marketing this event to our second-home owner population to say, “Yes you love it here, why not open/relocate/expand your business here?” and give them the resources they need to give it a go!

The American Planning Association Region I conference is finally here for me! I have been working with the host committee planning this event over the last year that will be from June 24-26 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. I am on a team of speakers to hold a discussion on, “Why This Work Matters” at this conference; this is based on a book that includes my essay from Wise Fools Press. You can get the book and read excerpts here: http://whythisworkmattersbook.com/

I am taking a long weekend to go see my mom in Syracuse; I grew up and went to college there so this also makes me a New Yorker; yikes, right?

Other things happening in July include organizing next year’s ads, getting new promotional materials for trade shows and for our BikeMaine visitors, as well as organizing form-based code training for the land use and zoning committee

Best wishes for the Fourth of July (fireworks on July 3, don’t forget!) and for your enjoyment of these nice warm summer days and evenings. I am grateful to serve your planning and development needs as it is an honor and a pleasure to be here!

Anne Krieg can be reached at 647-8786 or by e-mail at krieg@birdgtonmaine.org or on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn!

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