Cape Elizabeth cemetery, park, library plans move forward

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Potential changes in operations at Riverside Cemetery were approved Monday, when town councilors also set a May 14 hearing date to discuss revisions to the Fort Williams Park Master Plan.

Efforts to renovate and rebuild Thomas Memorial Library were also given a definitive schedule, as councilors set an Oct. 10 date for a council vote on the project.

Councilors approved allocating $45,000 to complete a stone wall bordering Riverside Cemetery on Route 77 and increases in cemetery service fees.

The Riverside Cemetery Master Plan suggests expanding the grounds and improving the flag while removing invasive species and expanding the views to the Spurwink River.

The plan also suggests building interment sites called “niche walls,” and exploring additional plot space, because cemetery capacity could be filled within the next 15 to 20 years.

The updated Fort Williams Park Master Plan outlines potential changes throughout the park and ways to increase park revenues. The updated plan was sent to the Planning Board in the winter and changes were unanimously endorsed last month.

Projects including adding pavilion space, reconstructing the parking lot at Ship Cove Beach and protecting some park structures are seen by councilors as long-term plans.

The master plan and its update also includes an outline of the ongoing arboretum construction for 15 park sites.

In addition to setting the date for the master plan public hearings, councilors approved group use requests for the park for the June 10 Cape Elizabeth High School commencement exercises, June 16 Family Fun Day, Aug. 4 TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K and Sept. 2 Engine 1 Art Show.

Preceding the library vote and a September public hearing, there will be a “public engagement” period where library staff and other interested parties will discuss and detail the scope of the project.

Town Manager Michael McGovern said there is no firm estimate for the project, but early indications put an $8 million to $8.5 million price tag on work to expand the library and create a community cultural center as part of the plan.

The 5-2 council vote on setting the date reflected opposition from Councilors Caitlin Jordan and Frank Governali.

Gladys Road resident Philip Kaminsky said the spending on the library project should be put to a public vote. McGovern noted the council vote in October is subject to a recall vote by residents.

For that to happen, petitions with about 700 signatures would have to be submitted to Town Clerk Debra Lane no later than 30 days after the council vote. The October vote would not allow time for a recall question to be part of the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow David on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.