Every municipality throughout the country faces decisions that are politically and personally divided amongst its residents. No matter which side you fall on, it’s important that you make informed decisions on two competing town meeting warrant articles #3 and #4 regarding the Thomaston Green. Both articles will be voted on by secret ballot on election day-Tuesday, June 14, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Thomaston Municipal Building.

It is crucial to note that the Town never intends to develop the whole Green. In fact, over 7 acres of the land has been set aside and will always be open park space for the community. The Town has made considerable improvements to the Green space with the building of the gazebo, planting of trees, and installing flags overlooking the St. George River. The Town continues to support recreational uses of the Green, as the space is a valuable asset to this community. The Town has spent many months working collaboratively with various board and committee members, town officials, citizens, Georges River Land Trust members, and Friends of the Green members along with Landscape Architect Regina Leonard to develop a Parks and Trails Masterplan which incorporates the Thomaston Green.

Since acquiring the 15.6 acres of the former prison property from the State of Maine, the Town has made significant financial investments to ensure future uses of the Thomaston Green-an investment totaling over $866,000 with nearly $250,000 of the funds through grants. These expenditures included the purchase of the land, a design masterplan, design and construction of Thomaston Green parks and trails, design and construction of infrastructure, design and construction of the gazebo, and the continued yearly maintenance of the land through our Public Works Department.

The main concern with the citizen initiative on article #4 is simply the word “permanent.” If the citizen initiative passes, then the future of the Thomaston Green is to be “permanently” an open park space. This means that citizens can never vote on any future uses at the Green. If article #4 passes, then all citizens lose their important voice in this community to decide future uses at the Green. Passage of article #4 results in the loss of citizens’ abilities to make decisions on uses of the resource to best meet changing needs and conditions.

Another misnomer on the street is that the Select Board decides what development goes on the Green. This is false! Any development projects on Town-owned property must be approved by, YOU, the citizens. This is local government at its best in Maine- where the citizens democratically have a voice on how your tax dollars are spent, how town property is used, and, essentially, how we move forward together as a community.

The Community and Economic Development Committee and the Select Board strongly support a “yes” vote on Article #3, which enables all citizens to have a future say on anything that happens at the Green. Have your voice heard at the public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, May 25th in the Lura Libby Room. An information session starts at 6 p.m. regarding articles 5 & 6, with the public hearing on the Green articles 3 & 4 to follow at 7 p.m.