Cumberland debuts orientation program for new residents

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CUMBERLAND — Through its upcoming resident orientation program, the town hopes to make new citizens feel right at home.

The first of its kind in Cumberland, the event will be held at the Town Hall Council Chambers, 290 Tuttle Road, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 24.

The impetus for the orientation came from an idea by Councilor Peter Bingham, whose daughter Catherine works for the town of Wakefield, Massachusetts – a community that holds its own resident orientation program bi-annually. Bingham was impressed enough during a visit there to approach Town Manager Bill Shane about launching one in Cumberland.

Bingham said in an interview May 4 that he hopes those who attend the program get “a better idea of what the town offers, and also maybe we’re going to get lucky and get some folks that would be interested in participating in one of our committees.”

With many new housing opportunities appearing in town, such as developer David Chase’s apartment complex and 45 single-family homes on U.S. Route 1, “we’re getting a lot of new people in town, so the timing here is really good,” Bingham said.

Although geared toward new residents, the event is open to anyone wishing to attend. “Sometimes, somebody that’s been here 20 or 30 years doesn’t know what we do,” Bingham said.

The program will offer an open house format, allowing residents to chat with Cumberland officials and people from various town departments, to learn more about activities and services the town officers, and to get to know other newcomers.

Participants, who will receive brochures with information concerning town services, are asked to register in advance so town staff can determine attendance. Log onto surveymonkey.com/r/cumberlandnewresidentorientation to sign up.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.