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Commons Committee Meeting Minutes for 09-20-10

Meeting Start 6:30. The meeting started with the review of the minutes and the minutes were approved. The meeting was attended by Dave Sirois, Dave Sullivan, Craig Nelson, Andy Hendrickson, Scott Bell. Dave Sullivan asked for a report on the person who was asked to be our fund raising champion. Andy said that the person is interested but he has not given him an answer yet.Andy is confident that he will get an answer soon. Sullivan asked for a report on tax deductions for donations. Dave Sirois Said that he checked with the MMA and they said that it would be a tax deduction. Also setting up an account and using the town treasurer to manage the money is ok as long as we get it approved at town meeting in November. Sirois will draft a warrant article with the help of the town attorney. Craig said that we can possibly get funds from local financial institutions. Selling park benches or plaques etc. are possibilities. Andy says that someone will be flying over the rail road tracks from Gardiner to Thopsham to take two foot contours and we may be able to get the land in question done at the same time, possibly. Sullivan asked if there should be someone to get information out to the press when necessary. Sirois said that he could do it easily. He already has a KJ reporter at the selectman meetings nearly every week. Sullivan said that we should have a new plan drawn up for Town meeting that has less on it to provide for more imagination. Show some parking and other areas with generic labels on it like "ball field".etc... Sirois said that the letter to dragon cement is near ready to go. It just needed some fine tuning. Craig said that it should say that the letter should say that we intend to take the matter up at town meeting in November. Sirois said he would do that. Sullivan asked if we could get the minutes on the web site and Sirois said that he could do that. Next meeting will be October 4 6:30 at the town office. Scott said that he would send the fund raising letter to the committee by e mail. Meeting ended at 8:30

Commons Committee Meeting Minutes for 08-30-10

In attendance was David Sullivan, Craig Nelson, Scott Bell, Andy Hendrickson, Bruce Bell, Dave Sirois, Mark Stebbins. Craig Nelson said that we should send a letter to Dragon Cement to let them know that we are still interested in the property and that we will begin fund raising to purchase the property. Also we need to check with MMA to confirm that donations to the fund are tax deductible and also ask them for the proper wording for a warrant article for town meeting on November 20. Rick McKenna suggested that we cc Dave Grinnell for the dragon letter. Dave Sullivan said that we should have a champion to head up the fund raising effort. Some names were mentioned and Andy Hendrickson will ask them if they are interested. Andy Hendrickson said we should send letters to Friends of the Rail Trail, Granite Hill Estates, Maine General, Maine Bike Coalition. Craig Nelson said that we should construct a thermometer to show the fund raising dollar amount at any given time. Andy Hendrickson said we should have a DEP Phase 1 study done on the Dragon land. Dave Sullivan said the alleged contamination from an abutting property could be running down on to the Dragon land. Mark Stebbins said that it is just good public policy to have a phase one done to protect the town from buying damaged goods Also he is working on potential donors for the land. Craig said that he would help with that. Also we should be working on a target figure for a fund raising goal. We need to figure in some earth work and the purchase price. Andy said that we should figure in some paving also. Scott Bell is rewriting the fund raising draft letter submitted by David Sirois. He said he will send it out email to the members of the committee. Bruce Bell said that some contractors may be willing to donate some work or material toward the project. A fund raising letter should be sent to them. He will compile a list. Mark Stebbins said that controlling the Dragon land may help the town in the eminent domain case on an abutting property. He said that if the town controls the Dragon property then it will be easier to prove the need for the abutting property for a town office and fire station Whereas we will need the extra land in order to have the space for buildings and parking. Therefor use some of the money from the Sheldon St. sale to buy the dragon land and use the donated funds to pay back the fund when possible. Timing is important. More over if the owner of the land under eminent domain can prove that there is a better piece of property in the area then we could lose the case of ED, Dave Sirois will check with Legal experts on this matter. Dave Sullivan set a meeting for 9/20/10 at 6:30 meeting ended 8:16

Commons Committee Meeting Minutes for Public Hearing 08-16-10

David Sullivan opened the meeting and allowed the members to introduce themselves. They were Scott Bell, Lisa Sullivan ,Mark Stebbins, Craig Nelson, Bruce Bell and Andy Hendrickson. Also in attendance was Selectmen David Sirois, Gene Moreau and Rick McKenna. Jeff Chapman and Cliff Andreason. David Sullivan gave reasons for the consideration of a parking lot adjacent to the rail trail. First, there is no legal parking for residents of Farmingdale along Main Ave. near the rail trail. This leads to illegal parking on Main Ave and some dangerous situations as a result. During the winter ice jam on the river there were many rear end accidents on Main Ave in Farmingdale because People wanted to see the ice jam but there was no parking so people would slow their vehicle to look at the ice jam and others would not see them and run into the back of them. There for the cardinal reason for the park was a safe place to park which is a public safety issue. Also there is a good opportunity for A.D.A. access to the rail trail. Other plusses for the land would be a common area to be used by the residents of Farmingdale as they see fit. For example athletic field or farmers market or play ground etc.. Committee members were asked to get feed back from neighbors and friends about the project. Lisa said that all of her feed back was positive. Scott Bell said that he got the same and said the proposed park would be an excellent addition to the town. Mark Stebbins said that this is a once in lifetime opportunity and give a new sense of community. Some of Marks respondence was, what will it cost the town to buy and maintain and are there grants available for this project were some questions. Craig Nelson stated that the town has nothing else and parking is a problem on Main Ave.. Andy Hendrickson presented a conceptual drawing of the property and showing some posible amenitys. The drawing was done by Kielly Mason. Bruce Bell said that the trail is used a lot by resident and parking is a hazard. This is a no brainer. The cost is irrelevant considering that the town will have the park for ever and will be able to enjoy it and utilize the space. Mark said that grants have restrictions and it will be federal land and more though should be put into funding it another way. Resident Cliff Anderason said the park is a great idea and there is 6 acres south of the land owned by the town and it could be a nature park as an addition to the park. there could be fitness sites could be added. Security of the site is a concern for Cliff. Limited Hours could be a solution as well as the constables patrol. Also rail trails are tourist destinations. Craig said that Augusta is extending their trail and will go to Richmond and Topsham. Andy said the Friends of the Rail Trail will support the project in any way they can. Kennebec Savings Bank has been a big supporter of the rail trail. The Kennebec River Rail Trail needs a building to store equipment and signs. Mike Laplant said that the lot is a hang out for youths and the fire department has responded to fires in that area so security is a concern for the park. Gene said that grants are drying up and the feds are very strict about haw the land is used Craig said that private grants are much less restrictive and should be looked at carefully. We could also fundraise privately and raise enough money to fund it. The committee decided that the grants should be put on the back burner and we will pursue private money for the acquisition of land.



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