Rockland commission makes pitch to city council for revamped downtown park
Rockland — The corner of Park and Main streets in Rockland could be in for a dressing-up if a proposal by three local organizations gets the nod.
Members of the Parks Commission, Rockland Main Street, Inc. and the Rockland Economic and Development office made a pictorial presentation Sept. 24 on revamping Winslow-Holbrook Memorial Park to highlight its potential as a gateway to downtown.
Recreation Department Director Rene Dorr discussed four drawings, showing different perspectives of the park, in a presentation that lasted for more than one hour. City councilors asked many questions.
Dorr said the proposal takes into account the work that has been done on the park already and addresses problems with heaving sidewalk bricks and shifting trees.
One sketch showed a bird's eye view of the proposed park to give viewers an idea of proportions of the park with four trees.
A second sketch gives viewers an idea of the proposal looking at the space from Park and Main streets. Benches are placed around the trees and the memorial stone is in the foreground.
A third perspective looks toward Trade Winds Motor Inn and and a proposed 6-foot cedar wall.
The fourth perspective looks across Main Street to the Camden National Bank building.
Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson said it was "nice to see so many people involved" in the planning. She wondered whether the commission had considered getting an opinion from a professional gardener who could foresee potential construction problems.
"It might be important to have a professional," she said.
"We're looking for general counsel," said City Manager James Smith.
Councilor Will Clayton expressed concern about the first crosswalk on Main Street after turning onto Park Street from the stoplight.
Commission member Marilyn Lustgarten said she was a walker and found that crosswalk dangerous because of the way vehicles come around the corner.
Parks Commission member Bill Pearce said the proposal was a "fabulous idea' but asked if a low hedge might be put up as a boundary that would still give people visibility to the traffic.
Councilor Eric Hebert pointed out that the proposal would encourage people to walk through the park rather than around it.
Pearce commented on the condition of the trees. "Those are mature trees. You see a lot of cabling to see they are safe," he said.
Other concerns included lighting in the trees and an overall budget.
Mayor Brian Harden said," We've got to be careful about what it costs."
Harden was also concerned that there would still be room for Santa's Workshop, which appears in the park at every Festival of Lights at Christmas.
The commission plans to seek the help of city hall staff members to figure out the cost of construction.
Smith said the project might be able to be put together in phases to control the costs.
Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached at 207-594-4401, ext. 117, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.