Cape Elizabeth council to cement Shore Road Path funding with money from building fees

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Town Council will discuss potential funding sources for the proposed Shore Road Pathway project on Monday, May 9, after the group responsible for private fundraising only met half its goal.

The Shore Road project was approved by the Town Council in 2009 on the condition that a local match of nearly 20 percent would be raised through private funds.

About $100,000 has been raised by the nonprofit organization Safe Access For Everyone. The remaining funds necessary to move the project forward are now proposed to come from grants, town sidewalk accounts and excess fund balance.

A few weeks ago the town was awarded a $729,000 federal grant that would cover nearly 80 percent of the cost to construct the two-mile pedestrian path.

The funds came from the Quality Communities Program of the federal Transportation Enhancement Program, which supports community transportation activities such as bicycle and pedestrian facilities and projects. The money is distributed through the Maine Department of Transportation.

According to Town Manager Mike McGovern, the project was estimated to cost about $937,000 in 2010. Including a $93,000 contingency amount – 10 percent the cost of construction – the total cost of the project is about $1 million and the local required match is about $208,000.

McGovern said with the grant and other additional funds – $60,000 from the town center sidewalk account, $26,000 in remaining balance from July 2010, $40,000 from the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System credit program and $100,000 in locally raised funds – the town has $955,000 to fund the project, leaving a $75,000 difference.

According to town documents, an Infrastructure Improvement Fund with a projected balance of about $105,000 on June 30 could be used to fill the $75,000 gap. It is funded by a 30 percent surcharge on building permit income, not property taxes. 

McGovern said while it was hoped that $200,000 could be raised privately, $100,000 is still a significant contribution. 

“We are at a point where we need to make a commitment to go to the state and we do have sources of funds that are not from the property tax,” he said. “It is important to move forward while there is still a favorable bidding environment. We are absolutely thrilled to have the $729,000 grant and the $100,000 contribution is quite significant from the citizens who wish to see the pathway go forward.”

The council Monday night will consider accepting the $729,000 grant and the SAFE funds, and appropriating $75,000 from the Infrastructure Improvement Fund.

If the contingency is not fully needed, McGovern said, the remaining funds will be transferred back to the account.

In other business, the council will consider allowing use of Fort Williams Park by the U.S. Coast Guard on July 15 for a change-of-command ceremony and on Sept. 25 for an Arthritis Foundation walk.

The council will also receive a town center review report update.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 81-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.

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