Falmouth village green plan keeps it simple, native

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FALMOUTH — Five years after acquiring the former Plummer and Lunt schools from the town, the OceanView retirement community is ready to move forward on its promise to create a village green on the property.

If all goes as planned, site work on the green, which would have access off Lunt and Middle roads, will begin in late summer or early fall – if the Town Council approves the proposal, Theo Holtwijk, the town’s director of long-range planning and economic development, said.

The property is nearly 2.4 acres in size. The goal is to create a landscaped area on about an acre and leave the remaining acre as an open field for low-impact activities, Holtwijk said.

The landscaped area would include a variety of plantings, walking trails and rustic benches.

Holtwijk said OceanView agreed to spend up to $35,000 on improvements to the green. Any spending above that would have to come from the town.

This week Holtwijk said he’s still crunching the numbers to determine the total project cost and he’s not yet sure whether a local share will be required.

So far, he said, the village green landscaping plan, which includes native species such as high-bush blueberry, pussy willow and pink azalea, has received an enthusiastic response from town staff and various town committees.

“We’re shopping the plan around” to the Conservation Commission, the Parks and Community Programs Advisory Committee and the Senior Advisory Committee, Holtwijk said, “in order to get feedback and input.”

His hope is to present the development plan for the green to the Town Council in July and get “the nod to go ahead” at that time.

David Haynes, the landscape architect for OceanView, said the goal is “to keep it simple.” Once the green is completed, he said, people would be free to take a walk, have a picnic or just enjoy “the considerable amount of native plant materials.”

Holtwijk said a focus on native plantings was advocated by him and Bob Shafto, the town’s open space ombudsman. He said he hopes people will use them as inspiration for their own backyards.

To that end, he said, Maine Audubon staff have agreed to help prepare informational signs or brochures that would be available to people interested in native plants.

Haynes also believes the Parks and Community Programs Department will use the green, since there will be easy access from the Mason-Motz center.

Work on affordable senior housing units at the Plummer School is just about complete, Haynes said, and when “we landscape (that) project, we could get started on the village green.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.

A sketch of the layout for the proposed new village green, off Lunt Road in Falmouth.