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South Portland eyes waterfront property in land swap

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South Portland eyes waterfront property in land swap

SOUTH PORTLAND — The City Council on Feb. 1 will vote on a land swap that would give the city a slice of waterfront property along the Greenbelt Walkway.

Mayor Tom Coward said councilors unanimously signaled support for the land swap with Louis Maietta at a workshop Monday night, Jan. 25, at the South Portland Community Center.

Coward said the swap was first suggested in the early 1990s, when city officials were planning the Greenbelt, an initiative that required many other similar deals with landowners.

Due to an administrative oversight, however, the swap with Maietta was never finalized.

But that delay may have worked to the city's advantage, Coward said.

"(Maietta) has given us a little bigger piece of land than he originally agree to," he said. "It's a piece of land he can't use. The city is getting a nice strip of waterfront property."

In a memo to councilors, City Manager Jim Gailey said the original agreement, reached with the South Portland Eagles Club, would have given the city nearly 4,000 square feet of waterfront land.

Now, Gailey said, the city will receive more than 8,700 square feet of land in exchange for a nearly 5,200-square-foot parcel abutting Maietta's building.

The issue came to the attention of city officials when Maietta, who now owns the Eagles building at 729 Broadway, sought to refinance.

Coward said the city has no specific plans for the property at this time, but could decide to install some benches along the Greenbelt Walkway.

"The city is certainly getting more out of this deal than Mr. Maietta is," Coward said.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net