Bath City Council supports McMann Field turf project

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BATH — The City Council on Wednesday approved the installation of artificial turf at McMann Field.

The panel also voted unanimously to designate three new crosswalks as part of the Whiskeag Trail.

The order for the McMann Field upgrade was amended four times before being approved 5-1. The final language states that the council encourages the Fields for Our Future Committee to continue fundraising, “with the understanding that there will be no request for, nor will there be any appropriation, of taxpayers’ funds” for the field.

The document also calls for a reserve fund to be established to provide funding for the field’s eventual replacement, funded by annual deposits of at least $35,000 from field rental revenues and other income.

Fundraising for the initial installation is also subject to a five-year sunset provision. At that time the council will determine whether any additional fundraising is appropriate, or if the project should be halted and donations redistributed.

Finally, the City Council will form a building committee, including Fields for Our Future members, to work with the Fields Committee to administer the field project.

The Fields for Our Future Committee has so far raised about $270,000 for the project and had asked the council to approve borrowing the remaining funds.

The City Council voted 5-4 on Feb. 3 in favor of borrowing up to $300,000 for the turf field. But opponents gathered more than 1,000 petition signatures to reverse the decision. The council sent the matter to a June 8 referendum, where voters defeated the proposal 1,522 to 861.

Councilor Ruthe Pagurko cast the dissenting vote against the order via phone during Wednesday’s meeting. Councilor James Omo was absent.

Crosswalks

The three new crosswalks should be installed this month on Old Brunswick Road, 580 feet northwest of the intersection of Old Brunswick Road and Judkins Avenue; on Oak Grove Avenue, 1,410 feet south of the northeast corner of the intersection of Whiskeag Road and Oak Grove Avenue, and on Whiskeag Road, 525 feet east of the northeast corner of the intersection of Whiskeag Road and Oak Grove Avenue.

Signs will be posted on both ends of the crosswalks to alert motorists to their location.

The five-mile Whiskeag Trail runs from the Bath Area Family YMCA on Centre Street to Thorne Head. A grand opening ceremony is planned for Sept. 18.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.