Camden Herald Letters to the Editor April 18

Apr 18, 2019

To all Friends of "Tannery Park" Camden

There will be a crucial meeting of the town of Camden's  CEDAC Committee Monday, April 22 at 4 p.m. at the Washington Street Conference Room, Town Hall, regarding the future of "Tannery Park.”  

The CEDAC committee and town of Camden Economic Developer Jeremy Martin are meeting to approve a final draft RFP (Request for Proposals) for a possible sale of "Tannery Park" (Tannery site) to a private developer for redevelopment of the site.

Therefore, it is important that those opposed to a sale of the Tannery site be present to demonstrate their objection to any sale of the property as a whole.

A sale of the property as a whole, would contradict the consensus  reached by Camden's "Tannery Work Group" for Tannery Park to be a community-centered space. This consensus has been widely accepted by the community as the best solution for the Tannery site now formally named "Tannery Park" by the Camden Select Board and the town had taken many steps to put this plan in to reality.

The Tannery Work Group met for two years with monthly meetings and then presented progress reports at three large community-wide meetings. The town also hired three facilitators, including a landscape architectural firm to help the TWG reach a consensus draft plan. The final report  that was accepted unanimously by the Select Board concluded that the Tannery site should be a community-themed multi-use place.  It would include a  permanent home for the Camden Farmers' Market, recreational space, including a playground (with funds raised by donations), green space surrounding the existing Riverwalk and space for community-based events. The Tannery Work Group's plan also set aside a space that could be leased for a commercial or non-commercial structure for possible retail, office, cafe, or educational facility. An RFP (Request for Proposals) would be appropriate in finding a developer for that specific portion of the property, but not for the sale of "Tannery Park" as a whole.

If you care about the future of "Tannery Park" as a town-owned property, please  show up for the CEDAC meeting Monday, April 22 at 4 p.m. at the Washington Street Conference Room, Town Hall, to let the CEDAC committee and Jeremy Martin, town of Camden economic developer know that you oppose the issuance of an RFP for the sale of "Tannery Park.”

The community has worked too hard getting this far with Tannery Park to start over again!

Tom Resek
Friends of Tannery Park Chair
Tannery Work Group Member
Camden Park and Rec Committee Member
Neighbor of Tannery Park

 

Plastic Free By the Sea

As of May 1 plastic single-use carry-out bags will no longer be permitted at stores and restaurants in Camden. Stores selling staple foods in Camden can offer paper, biodegradable or compostable carryout bags for a fee of 10 cents. These changes are to encourage customers to bring their own re-usable carryout bags or containers.

Camden retailers are saying goodbye to single-use plastic bags, joining more than 20 other Maine communities, hundreds of other US communities, and 62 foreign countries. The ordinance was passed by Camden citizens in November 2018, the result of a citizens-lead initiative.

The other Camden ordinance going into effect as of May 1 bans the use of polystyrene (styrofoam) containers for any food prepared in Camden. Takeout establishments, restaurants, coffee shops, and food stores will be using non-polystyrene containers—thereby eliminating the distribution of the non-recyclable and highly polluting polystyrene in Camden—a move that will help preserve the natural beauty of the town and reduce our waste impact. Camden retailers are also banned from selling food containers made of polystyrene (coolers, cups, plates, etc.). In addition, any caterers or other food businesses contracted to do business in town are prevented from using this plastic material as part of special events in town.

The Camden Conservation Committee distributed materials related to these ordinances in February and held public meetings with retailers and food establishments to help prepare them for the changes. Retailers are in conversation with the regional Chamber of Commerce to place free, reusable bags around town to ease the transition. Lodging providers have also been urged to alert their guests via room signs and on their websites, and perhaps providing customized bags touting Camden’s desire to be Plastic Free By the Sea.

What can you do to help? Bring your own bags (or backpacks or baskets) and takeout containers when you shop Camden or travel. Also consider carrying a takeout mug and utensils no matter where you go—to work or across the globe. You can reuse them hundreds of time, thereby doing your part to eliminate single-use plastics in any form. (Plastic, once manufactured, has no place to go— it will exist in some form on planet Earth forever.)

Both new ordinances help Camden lead the cultural transformation away from single-use plastics that inevitably wind up in our landfills, pollute our environment or end up as trash along the roadside.

Last week the Maine Legislature passed a bill (LD 289) prohibiting the use of polystyrene containers statewide—making Maine one step closer to being the first state to do so. In the coming months the Legislature also is considering a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

Molly Mulhern

Camden

 

Questions and suggestions about library parking

Congratulations to the Rockport select board for reducing the number of parking spaces surrounding the One Limerock library site to one less than what is presently available. How did we end up with fewer spaces than what are already there?

There are presently three parking spaces on Russell in front of One Limerock, seven on Limerock, and five on Union. The total of parallel parking spaces presently available is 15.

With the plan voted on by the Select Board on April 8, we keep the three spaces on Russell. We get seven head-in spaces on Limerock to replace the seven parallel spaces. But we only get four spaces on Union to replace the current five. The total of  parking spaces available is 14.

The spaces on Limerock will be safer for those with small children. The spaces on Russell will be safer by being indented into the library lot. The four spaces on Union remain unsafe for those bringing children to the library and those with mobility issues who must exit their car into traffic and make their way to the sidewalk.

The design as presented over the past 18 months with its 14 parking spaces on Limerock, included a space to be designated for those with mobility issues who did not have a formal handicapped designation. Will such a space be so designated in the new plan to supplement the one van-accessible handicapped space adjacent to the building, which will also serve as parking for delivery trucks?

The select board also voted to place a granite curb along Limerock from the parking area to the driveway of the Anderson’s house with the apparent thought that it could easily be removed and reused. However, because such curbing is set in concrete, it will be very expensive to remove and it cannot be reused. Since it will be obvious very soon that parking is not adequate and the full 14 spaces on Limerock are in fact necessary, asphalt curbing should be used as a temporary means for keeping people from parking on the grass.

Helen Shaw

Rockport

 

Library Fairness

The Rockport Board of Selectmen reached a conclusion on the library parking issue at their April 8 meeting that should be seen as fair compromise. The tortured history of Rockport’s new library was debated on the issue of site – keep it in the center of the village or place it at the old elementary school location for wider whole-town accessibility.

Interestingly, the attendant parking issue wasn’t so much focused on accessibility. The matter devolved to projected  daily use estimates and maintaining green park space.  We live in the village very close to the library site and walk past the park several times a day. Those folks who view the park as a place where children are playfully gamboling all day while amateur artists line up nearby with their easels at the ready, are not describing the park we know. Rather it is a tidy green space (originally deeded for library use) featuring war memorials for those who have served our country. It is also ringed by several large trees in various stages of decay and useful life. Nevertheless, there was a viewpoint that there should be no parking space incursion into the park and that sufficient parking could be found on  neighboring streets.

Give credit to Selectman Doug Cole, who supported the needs of more distant patrons – especially those transporting young children - and offered a motion for the full design parking plan that would utilize the south side of the park. After considerable discussion on the number of spaces that each selectman could support, the full design was reduced by half to seven spaces on the park. Given the disparity of the selectmen’s viewpoints and the wide range of public opinion on the parking issue, the seven-space solution was probably a reasonable compromise.

Personally, I believe a new, larger, well-equipped library will be a considerable draw and citizens who must travel by car can take solace in the fact that the approved design does allow expansion of parking to the full fourteen spaces should the need arise.

Ralph Wallace
Rockport

 

Thoughts on the CMP electricity proposal

I’ve been thinking about CMP’s push to cut a swath through the Maine Wilderness. It appears to me that the benefits are primarily for entities out-of-state: CMPs’ Spanish owner, their stock-holders, and Massachusetts rate-payers.

They claim that bringing non-polluting hydroelectricity, generated in Canada, through our state will reduce carbon emission, which will be good for Maine. If that’s true, why isn't CMP diverting some of that non-polluting energy to us here in Maine? More to the point, why do we have to cut down our trees, disrupt our wildlife, destroy our views of Maine’s pristine landscape for the benefit of Massachusetts rate payers?

Consider Mars Hill, just north of Holton. The residents of that part of Maine have to look at a row of wind towers, but get none of the electricity from the venture. Residents of Massachusetts get it, not Mainers.

Massachusetts already has a potential supply of non-polluting electrical power, in the form of wind in Nantucket Sound. The Sound is the best place along the entire East coast for a wind farm. It’s shallow; towers can be easily erected; there is abundant wind; and the transmission distance from source to user is a matter of miles, not hundreds of miles from Canada through Maine. Half of all electricity generated is used up in its transmission from source to user.

A few years ago there were plans for a wind farm in Nantucket Sound, but the owners of waterfront estates on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard did not want to see wind turbines on their horizon. So now, CMP and Massachusetts residents are asking us in Maine to go along with a massive disruption of our landscape, to save the pristine view of Nantucket Sound.

Doesn’t sound like good business or a fair use of resources to me.

David Lyman
Camden

 

National Telecommunicators Week, April 8 to 14, prompts thanks

Please join us in thanking our Public Safety dispatchers for the very important role they play in ensuring we all get the right help in the most expeditious manner. When it comes to first responders, our call-takers and dispatchers are the tip of the spear for more than 99 percent of all emergencies. These men and women must be the voice of reassurance and calm to get accurate information to relay to police, fire and medical services personnel so they can respond quickly, safely and with the most appropriate resources.

The personnel that work at the Knox County Regional Communications Center are too often left out of the news story when praise is being heaped on responders who took care of the incident. Those of us who work in public safety know how valuable accurate information is to our action plans and it all starts with the person who answers the call to 911 and broadcasts that information to us.

Our communications personnel are tucked away in a secure building, devoid of much outside human interaction during their shift. The information at their fingertips is protected for privacy and the work requires outside distractions be heavily minimized. This means that most shifts they will only have face-to-face interactions with a handful of people. While they may talk to hundreds on the phone, most often the caller is experiencing a stressful situation making these conversations far from positive. Dispatchers work very hard to gain control of the situation, to glean the requisite information needed. Make no mistake, these personnel handle the most difficult calls a person can take. The agony of waiting for help to arrive is shared between the caller who needs help and the dispatcher who has passed on that information to the responders and then waits to hear someone has arrived to help the caller. Seconds seem like minutes, minutes like hours to someone who knows help is needed, but hasn’t yet arrived.  

Those of us who rely on these folks want to thank them for telling us where to go, what we need to bring, what we can expect to find and what difficulties may impede our mission. The dedicated staff at the Knox County Regional Communications Center deserve our praise for making sure we get where we’re needed and home again, 24/7/365. If you have ever been thankful for great EMS service, a fire that was quickly controlled or a situation where law enforcement made the difference, you most likely have a dispatcher to thank as well!

The Police, Fire and EMS Executive Board representatives to the KRCC Users Group

 

Summer Activities Fair Directory now Available

The Camden-Rockport PTA is offering the 2019 Summer Activities Fair directory - a complete listing of every organization who participated in the Summer Activities Fair on April 3, as well as several new ones. The directory lists contact info, dates offered, pricing, age level, website, and descriptions of the programs.  Everything needed to plan out summer.

Many thanks to the 46 organizations that participated in the fair.  Still more thanks to the several others who could not attend but are listed in the directory.  A standing ovation goes to the Camden-Rockport Elementary School custodial staff for their support of the fair and hard work setting up and breaking down the event.  Thank you, as well, to CRES for the use of facilities for this terrific community resource.  Lastly, thanks to the volunteers that helped to run the event.  The crowd of 200 attendees certainly enjoyed and benefited from it!

To get a copy of the Summer Activities Fair Directory, message the Fair page on Facebook at "Mid-Coast Summer Activities Fair", email midcoastSAF@gmail.com or find it on the
CRES Website under Parent Resources.

Heather Mackey and Robin Spear,
Rockport

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