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Fairground concert ordinance gets early support

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Fairground concert ordinance gets early support

CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on Monday continued discussion around allowing non-fair concerts at the Cumberland Fairgrounds. Though the issue stemmed out of a briefly proposed Toby Keith concert, there are no events currently in question.

A workshop was held Monday, which was attended primarily by members of the Cumberland Farmers Club. The club runs the fairgrounds and proposed the Keith concert before pulling the plug on the event several days later.

The concert could have drawn a substantial crowd with positive economic impacts. But it was expected to upset fairground neighbors. Rather than push the concert through, the club decided to pull back and ask for ordinance changes to back events such as this in the future.

At the workshop, a handful of citizens spoke in support of a proposed overlay district, which would allow a specified number of non-fair concerts each year. Several also expressed concerns over traffic and noise.

The council will hold a public hearing June 1 before voting to send the matter to the Planning Board.

The council Monday also gave the Fire Department permission to apply for $2.8 million in federal stimulus funds to build a new Central Fire Station. A committee of firefighters and staff have been working for about a year on plans to renovate or rebuild the station, which is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, has an outdated heating system, insufficient storage capacity and asbestos insulation throughout.

When stimulus funds were announced available for municipal buildings, the committee began pushing harder to prepare shovel-ready plans in order to submit an application. Final plans are not prepared or approved by the council; that approval may wait until farther along in the grant process.

The grant  "is a long shot," Town Manager Bill Shane said, but worth applying for. It would require no matching funds from the town, he said.

Sarah Trent can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 108 or strent@theforecaster.net.

More stories like this: toby keith, fairgrounds, cumberland town council