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Topsham selectmen support state land deal

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Topsham selectmen support state land deal

TOPSHAM — The state is expected to turn over approximately 21 acres of land off the Coastal Connector to the town before the end of the year, at no charge.

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Nov. 4 to have Town Manager Jim Ashe sign a memorandum of agreement with the Maine Department of Transportation to accept the state-owned land, known as the Hickey property. The parcel is located between the Topsham Fairgrounds and the Coastal Connector.

Ashe said the DOT had initially been looking to build a garage on the property but opted instead to build it next to Topsham's Public Works garage.

The land was ultimately planned for town recreation purposes if the state did not use it and Sen. Seth Goodall, D-Richmond, has been involved in the transfer deal.

Ashe also said veterans' memorial signs had been placed on the property without the state's permission and that the town had been working with the American Legion to locate a memorial on a piece of land on Foreside Road. Goodall is helping to work on that arrangement as well.

"Where it is now is impossible for people to stop to go look at it," Ashe said. "There's no right-of-way. The only right-of-way we'd have is to get there from the (Topsham) Fairgrounds."

Ashe noted that the state land is not on any tax rolls now. He expressed a desire to complete the transfer before the end of Gov. John Baldacci's administration.

"I'd hate to see us lose the opportunity to have this piece of land turned over to the town," Ashe said.

This was the Board of Selectmen's first meeting with new members Andrew Mason and Marie Brillant, who replaced Sandra Consolini and Steve Edmondson. The board voted to retain Ron Riendeau as its chairman and Jim Trusiani as vice-chairman.

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