Camden Herald Letters to the Editor March 14

Mar 14, 2019

We voted for a new library, not a destroyed park.

By a 54 to 46 margin, Rockport voters approved building a new library on the property of the old library.

The voters did so with the understanding that the intersection of Russell Ave, Central Street and Union Street is confusing. They knew that on rare occasions, they might have to walk more than 75 steps to get to a library event. They appreciated a park across from the library. They knew they were approving a building and nothing else.

Now, we find that a current plan, without formal Select Board vote, without any public discussion, increases by 100 percent the amount of asphalt on Limerock street - from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet of asphalt; reduces by 41 percent the amount of green grass in Memorial Park - from 18,500 square feet to 11,000 square feet of green grass; and reduces by 100 percent the number of trees in Memorial Park - from five to zero trees.

This library needs to be built. Changes to the plans for the building and lower Limerock Street and intersection are regrettably too far along to change without major delays and expenses in the building plan. The parking lot in the park does not impact the building plan.

Please urge our select board members to be sensitive to changes that destroy a park.
Encourage them to modify the current plan to make Limerock Street one-way and keep parallel parking. Doing so will reduce by 36 percent the amount of planned new asphalt and reduce from 41 percent to 22 percent the paving of our Memorial Park.

With this change, there is ample parking to meet Library staff parking counts. Fourteen parking spaces and a drop-off are within 75 steps of the Library. This is enough to hold the daily maximum number of cars all but four days a year. And more than ample to hold the three to four cars that are typically parked at one time every day of the year.

Please contact our Select Board members now and ask them to make Limerock Street one way coming off the new Union Street entrance and to keep parallel parking along Limerock. Ask them to preserve a residential area above the library. Ask them to keep the park from being a parking lot.

Here is the contact information for our Select Board members:
Doug Cole: dcole@town.rockport.me.us  
Debra Hall: dhall@town.rockport.me.us
Jeff Hamilton: Jhamilton@town.rockport.me.us
Mark Kelley: mgkelley@town.rockport.me.us
Ken McKinley: kmckinley@town.rockport.me.us

Respectfully:
Bill Freeman, Susan Freeman, Larry Lehmann, Stephen Earle, Barbara Brooks, Malcolm Brooks, Mary Ann Brooks,  Warren Schubert, Melody Schubert, Mitchel Gross, Don Flock, Judy Flock, Emmy Lewis, Ingrid Van Steenberg, Sally Cook, Ruth Graham, Anne Surovek, John Surovek, Jim Chalfant, David Bannister, Lynn Bannister, Tom Young,  Mary Ann Young, Kathleen Hackett, Stephen Antonson, Kathrin Seitz, Richard Anderson, Michael Hampton, David Kantor, Caryl Kolkin, Tori Willauer, Linda Lesher, Grif Lesher, Tony Bates, Betty Bates, Jen Porter, Lisa Morgan, Stephanie Lash,  Barbara Bausch, Leon Bausch, Patti Peace, Linda Sink, Sue Plaskas, Susan Kauck, Jeff Kauck, Colleen Lowe, Shawn Moran, Peter van der Kieft, Marcy van der Kieft, Susan Forster, Pete Forster, Deniz Ovecoglu, Mary Ovecoglu

 

What is a selectperson to do?

In November of last year the Rockport citizens voted to allow the building of the new public library on the previous site of the old library at 1 Limerock St.  One of the reasons that this article passed was that some of the people who had previously supported the RES site now felt that they could support the Limerock St. location with the caveat that ample, adequate, and safe parking would be provided, as  depicted in the conceptual drawings.

Fast forward four months to the eve of the groundbreaking for the new library. A second group of citizens now comes forward and points out  that the current plan intrudes too much into the adjacent park and their neighborhood.  They feel that a different arrangement of parallel parking would be a better solution.

Both sides present "data" supporting their positions.

The town attorney renders his opinion that the select board has the authority to make the decision on their own should they desire.

What is a selectperson to do?

First, I have no personal preference as to whether the parking should be perpendicular as shown in the plan by the engineers, or parallel as the second group of citizens desires.

I do think that the fairest course of action is to take the current plan as designed by the engineers and present it for an up or down vote by the town citizens in June.  If the plan passes, it moves ahead.  If it is defeated, because the parking will be the last item in the project to be completed in the fall of 2020, there will be plenty of time to draw up and engineer a second plan with a minimal cost incurred.

The unofficial slogan of the Rockport Select Board is "I am only 20 percent of the board" so this is only my personal opinion.  For the rest of the story, stay tuned to the Livestream broadcasts of our meetings, or even better, attend one in person.

Respectfully submitted to all of the citizens of Rockport,

Douglas  Cole

Rockport Selectman

 

Suggestion for Tannery RFP

I watched the most recent meeting of CEDAC at which it was decided that a subcommittee was created to write the Request for a Proposal for the Tannery Property. It is well established that any use of the Tannery Property will include provisions for the Camden Farmer’s Market and probably a playground.

The process of an RFP is that we, the community, state the elements and conditions we want for the property and invite developers to submit plans that hopefully satisfy our intentions. Presumably we would include in our directive provisions for the Farmer’s Market.

However, by including the entire property in the RFP there is certainly the possibility of receiving proposals that include the market but perhaps not in the way most citizens are picturing the location. For example, whether truth or rumor, it was mentioned that one idea was housing along the front of the property and the market in back.

I would like to suggest that the town decide where it wants the market, the current location being most favorable in my opinion, and the potential playground, and divide this land off of the whole property. The balance of the property would then be put out on the RFP with whatever stipulations are chosen. Examples would be percent of green space, type of building, possible shared parking with the market, maximum building size, etcetera.

This process would enable us to avoid future conflict.

Sincerely,
Stephen Gold
Camden

 

Response to Electoral College column

(This letter is a response to a column in the March 7 Camden Herald, by Reade Brower, owner of these newspapers.)

I am confused. I thought the concept of “point/counter point” was to present two sides of an argument, but the so-labeled set of articles in the March 7 edition of the Camden Herald does not meet that criteria. Ms. Sutton’s article presents the pros of the Electoral College, along with a suggestion of how to make it more fair,  and the cons of the national popular vote.

Mr. Brower opens his article by agreeing with Ms. Sutton’s assessment of the Electoral College and the national popular vote, then moves into a rant about Republicans and conservatives, which seems to assume that all Republicans are conservative and all conservatives are Republicans. He next moves on to pushing rank-choice voting, which has nothing to do with presidential elections, the Electoral College, or the national popular vote. So what exactly is Mr. Brower’s counterpoint to Ms. Sutton?

Helen A. Shaw
Rockport

 

Make Camden a Dark Night Community

It is positive that the town of Camden is planning on taking over the streetlights from CMP and installing energy-efficient bulbs. Which makes this an opportune time to evaluate the subject of nighttime lighting in our community, in “light” of up-to-date research.

Hopefully, the LED replacement has been carefully studied. LED’s produce a much brighter, whiter light, so lower wattage LED’s are recommended. And can they be full-spectrum, so as not to disrupt the natural ecosystem and biorhythms of the creatures (including humans) within their immediate vicinity?

Thought should be given to the possibility of eliminating some village streetlight entirely. I cite the corner of Pearl and Park streets as an example. From 2012 to 2014, the corner streetlight was out. There were certainly no accidents and it was “heavenly” to be able to gaze at the night starts. I noticed a difference in some plants in my garden - healthier — an an increase in bird activity as well.

Remaining lights should be lowered on their poles, shielded and put on a timer system — no need to be on all night shining into residents’ windows. There are actually four streetlights glaring all night in the sleepy neighborhood between our house and Mechanic Street — we have to have dark curtains to sleep!

Placement of streetlights on poles is another issue. We’ve lived here for 25 years, and the streetlights have been climbing the poles. As the utility company, phone company and cable companies string more and more wires, the streetlights (which must be a required distance above the nearest line) also move up — thereby shedding their annoying lights in incrementally increasing circles.

Extensive research shows that streetlights do not make neighborhoods or streets safer. On the other hand, they create unsafe glare and alter or disrupt the normal reproductive life cycles and circadian rhythms of birds, animals and plants. In fact, some perennials and annuals will not blossom (morning glories, for example) if they are exposed to night light.  And then there are the ubiquitous outdoor lights on business and residential properties, piercing the darkness and visible for blocks. Let’s develop a lighting policy for our community that specifies maximum wattage and shielding for outdoor lights.

Finally, let’s work toward Camden becoming a Dark Sky Community. We all (living creatures) have a right to the night sky. This is one form of pollution easy remedied - and we can begin in our own backyards.

Nancy Caudle-Johnson
Camden

Our struggle is for the very soul of America

Are you concerned that last week the U.S. Senate voted in favor of murdering surviving, new-born babies? The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, reintroduced to the Senate recently failed by a vote of 53 to 44.

Isn’t this a red flag to all of us…It seems very obvious to me that the body that governs us is in a rapid moral decline. Abraham Lincoln once said, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation would be the philosophy of the government in the next.”

Let me remind everyone that this country was founded on Biblical Christian moral principles. But today we see nothing but chaos and confusion concerning our moral stand and abortion is freely being used as a form of birth control.  In order to correct our moral compass heading, we need to address The One who set the correct course in the first place. Everything hinges on it.

It’s not only the economy, or immigration, or our national security, it’s how we address The Creator of life, Our God Jehovah! Will we return to our moral foundation or will we continue on this road to certain disaster. God said in 2 Chronicles 7:14—“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”

Rev. James A. Garfield, our 20th President of these United States, said in part, “the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption.”

The only solution to this radical agenda is for all Christians everywhere to boldly stand up and take action. We cannot wait!

Gene V. Graves
Rockport

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