Cumberland, North Yarmouth to celebrate Knight's Pond purchase

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CUMBERLAND — After securing funds and support to preserve Knight’s Pond/Blueberry Hill, it’s time for a celebration.

A ceremony will be held at the Knight’s Pond trailhead on Greely Road Extension, Saturday, Oct. 24. The event is hosted by the Chebeague & Cumberland Land Trust, Royal River Conservation Trust and the Trust for Public Land, which worked with Cumberland and North Yarmouth to acquire the land.

CCLT will hold its annual business meeting from 9:15-9:30 a.m., with the opening ceremony following at 10 a.m. Hikes are being offered at 11 a.m. and noon.

The event is free, and will be held rain or shine, with light refreshments served.

The celebration comes after the two land trusts provided a bridge loan to complete funding to purchase the 215-acre undeveloped parcel. It is owned by Rebecca Leland Swigget, who inherited the property from her parents, Richard and Helen Knight.

The parcel is primarily in Cumberland, with 50 acres in North Yarmouth.

The Cumberland Town Council in February approved contributing $300,000 from its Open Space Acquisition reserves for the purchase. North Yarmouth voters in April approved spending up to $100,000 from the town’s Future Lands fund for the $1.13 million acquisition and preservation of the mostly-forested land.

While more than $460,000 in other funds comes from foundations and private individuals, an additional $225,000 grant from the Land for Maine’s Future program that is needed to complete the purchase has been in jeopardy. Gov. Paul LePage’s decision not to release voter-approved bonds earmarked for LMF conservation projects has meant that the Knight’s Pond project, and others, have not received funds needed for completion.

In light of that, the deadline to close the deal was postponed while both towns extended their purchase and sale agreements.

With the LMF dollars still in doubt, the two land trusts voted last month to advance the necessary funding so the property could finally be purchased.

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

A ceremony celebrating the securing of funds to purchase and preserve Knight’s Pond/Blueberry Hill will be held in Cumberland Saturday, Oct. 24.

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.