| Letter to the editor from Beverly Cadigan |
On July 1, 2019, the Selectmen unanimously approved a resolution brought forth by the RRCT [Royal River Conservation Trust] and the GNGLL [Gray-New Gloucester Little League] concerning the potential acquisition of and future plans for the 177.16-acre parcel of land “connecting the Lower Village to the Little League fields on Route 231” … identified on NG tax map #7 as lot #98.
Statements from that resolution:
“Whereas #11” stated that the aim of the GNGLL and RRCT was “to complete the project with neither municipal financial resources nor municipal land ownership”.
“Resolve #2” of the resolution was that “The Selectmen of New Gloucester urge town staff and town committees to seek input from the community and give input to GNGLL and the RRCT to shape project plans in the interest of the community”.
Obviously, these promises have been ignored. And this preservation project has experienced an unacceptable expansion.
The original 177.16 acres extended to the Lower Village…yes…from the Intervale meadow up the hill to the back yards of the residents of the Lower Village. Saving that land from development is certainly good for New Gloucester and the Lower Village…and I thank Don and Lynne Chandler for their vision of that protection.
The following are my concerns and the quotes are directly from the project update from the RRCT to the Select Board dated March 30, 2021:
- The acquisition of additional properties, beyond the initial Chandler property and the development of “loop trails” on and across private and Town owned land and “increased foot traffic entering the (Lower) Cemetery at two locations” is certainly not good for New Gloucester or the Lower Village. The Cemetery is not a destination for hiking or mountain biking!
- RRCT admits that “parking issues arise in nearly every subsection of their memo” for tonight’s presentation. “Parking issues” indicates to me that these proposed trails are not for the benefit of community members. And the idea that the Library could become a “trailhead” and parking destination for the “Village trail network” used by “hikers and other recreationalists” is scary!
- RRCT states that “parts of the historic Interurban rail line will become a pedestrian and multi-use trail connecting iconic historic sites and the Village Store to Stevens Brook”. But why would you want to go to Stevens Brook on the old Interurban right-of-way only to get to a dead end at the corner of the Lower Cemetery Lot?
- RRCT notes the CMP Grange Hall lot to be critical “for future trail connectivity”. What does that mean? More public trails across private property? To where and for what?? And for the benefit of whom?
The development and use of these proposed public “trails” throughout the Lower Village (specifically on pieces of the old Interurban right-of-way) will destroy the private tranquility of the Lower Village and end up costing New Gloucester money (increasing our taxes) with no return to the Town.
Please remember that New Gloucester has a well-established snowmobile club and trail…much of which does use the old Interurban right-of-way…and remember that gates on some of those pieces are open only in the winter and are closed in the summer as the surrounding pastures are used for livestock.
Until community input/opinion has been gathered and the Town and RRCT have factored it into the design of this project I urge the selectmen not to move forward with any additional commitment to this project. Find out what the people want as you promised to do when you adopted the RRCT resolution in 2019.
Regarding the proposed Ballfield Complex: I have heard from proponents of the project that there is a lot of misinformation “out there” about the scope and design of the project. If this is the case, I would urge the GNGLL to speak out ASAP to correct any misinformation about the plans for this Complex. Truth is in the best interest of everyone involved.
Eds. note: Beverly Cadigan sent her letter directly to the members of the select board, acting town manager Sharlene Myers, Alan Stearns of Royal River Conservation Trust, and Nate Stone of Gray-New Gloucester Little League, and asked that it also be shared on NGX.
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