Bath honors involved citizens, community groups

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BATH — Community members and groups were honored Oct. 12 during the 15th annual Bath Citizen Involvement Day, held at Waterfront Park as part of Autumnfest.

In addition to the award winners, the Community Spirit Award was renamed in honor of Al Smith, the city’s former community development director. Smith worked for the city for 17 years before retiring in 2012, dedicating himself to aiding people in need and grassroots community initiatives, according to the city.

Citizen Involvement Day was Smith’s creation – a means of honoring people and projects benefiting the city, and of featuring nonprofit groups and organizations.

Joanne Marco, who is the outgoing executive director of the Bath Housing Authority, was named Citizen of the Year.

The authority supports low-income, disabled and elderly people with housing needs. The Bath Area Family YMCA, Bath Police Department, Chocolate Church Arts Center, Elmhurst, Community Development Committee, Creative Community Alliance and Children’s Schoolhouse have benefited from her efforts, according to the city.

Kevin Thibodeau, who received the Youth Award, promoted hope, wellness and positive thinking through the “Make Music, Save a Life” campaign, raising donations for the Maine Youth Suicide Prevention program.

Fields for Our Future, a group that raised more than $600,000 to build an artificial turf field at the Edward J. McMann Outdoor Athletic Complex, received the Community Project Award. The group, led by Lu Luzano and Kay Beveridge, continues to pursue funding for improvements to other recreational facilities around Bath.

Will Neilson, owner of Solo Bistro, whose involvement with city programs includes Main Street Bath, Bath Rotary, the Bath Freight Shed Alliance, and the Greater Bath Elder Outreach, received the Al Smith Community Spirit Award.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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Kay Beveridge, left, Bath Parks and Recreation Director Steve Balboni, and Lu Lozano hold the Community Project Award, presented Oct. 12 at Bath’s annual Citizen Involvement Day awards ceremony to the Fields for Our Future group, which led the campaign for an artificial turf field at the Edward J. McMann Athletic Complex.

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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.