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- The Forecaster
CAPE ELIZABETH — The Conservation Commission plans to upgrade the Inner Loop Trail on the Gull Crest property and is looking for construction bids for the project.
Town Planner Maureen O’Meara said she is not sure how much the project will cost, but work will include gravel, geotextile fabric, equipment and hourly wages.
The Gull Crest area is more than 100 acres of land owned by the town with a multi-use purpose. The property houses the recycling center, sewer pump station, public works garage, athletic field, community garden and is mostly wetlands. The trail upgrades will include about 475 linear feet in six sections.
“The Conservation Commission is always working on these trails,” O’Meara said. “Always.”
The Conservation Commission is the group that cares for the Greenbelt Trail system. O’Meara said they work to improve and maintain the trails, expand the trail network and offer advice to the Planning Board on land easements, developments and green spaces.
She said the trail upgrades are necessary because they get heavy use and the soil cannot withstand the traffic.
“The trail system travels through wetlands and often gets muddy,” she said. “It is important to improve these conditions.”
The commission sent out bids for a woven fabric, 6 feet wide in six locations along the Inner Loop Trail. After the fabric is placed, 2 or 3 inches of gravel will be compacted on top. In the six locations, 4-inch PVC diameter pipe will be installed to preserve existing drainage patterns.
“The Conservation Commission is a volunteer group that does a lot of the work to maintain the trails themselves, but this is very difficult work,” O’Meara said. “Gravel needs to be hauled to a place that is nowhere near roads. There is only so much that can be done without equipment.”
The bids have been sent out, and there was a mandatory site walk along the property Thursday, Nov. 12, at 9 a.m. for any interested parties.
O’Meara said the bids returned by Dec. 1 will be discussed at the Conservation Commission meeting on Dec. 8. The commission will make a recommendation to the Town Council, and the town will formally award the bid.
“The Conservation Commission is a tremendous group of volunteers,” O’Meara said. “They are out there on the weekends and after hours to give of their time.”