APPLETON — In a special town meeting Nov. 30, residents favored by an overwhelming margin spending up to $80,000 from surplus to purchase 4 acres on Sherman’s Mill Pond.

The land, to be called Getchell Family Park, will provide freshwater access and a hydrant source for the Fire Department.

Residents voted on two questions: approving moving forward with the purchase by a margin of 158-5, and authorizing the town to pursue funding through the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Land for Maine’s Future, American Recovery Plan Act, and other sources by a margin of 159-5.

A total of 164 ballots were cast.

A public hearing was held Thursday, Nov. 18 at the Appleton Town Office to hear public comment on the proposal.

The lot, owned by the Getchell family, was assessed at $104,400.

“The family has generously offered to donate a portion of the assessed price ($29,400) making the sale price $75,000 and allowing a $5,000 margin for closing costs,” Select Board Chair Lorie Costigan said in September. “The board is pursuing funding sources and conservation measures through Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Land for Maine’s Future, which has the potential to significantly decrease the cost to taxpayers.”

Town officials expect the actual cost to taxpayers will be less than $80,000 due to these partnerships.

Fred Bucklin offered to appraise the lot at no charge to the town, and Road Commissioner Jake Boyington offered to donate time and equipment for trail construction, Costigan said in the previous report. Acting Fire Chief Prent Marriner is reviewing funding sources for hydrant placement, which will serve an underserved area of town.

Costigan said she has seen public support for the plan. “Residents in general are happy to know they can preserve what has been a generous offer of a respected landowner, who has allowed public use of private land for decades. The purchase of the land will forever weave the Mill Pond into a part of Appleton’s community experience.”

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