Falmouth weighs future of Foreside park, property

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FALMOUTH — A subcommittee looking at what to do with a vacant town-owned property on the Foreside may conduct a traffic study and begin seeking public input.

The Brown property at 260 Foreside Road (Route 88), abuts Underwood Park. The town purchased the 3.3-acre parcel in 2007. 

Town Councilor Charlie McBrady, who is also chairman of the subcommittee, said the group has met twice since it was charged by the council to develop a plan. Most recently, he said, members discussed the possibility of conducting a traffic study in the general area.

He also said the subcommittee discussed how to involve the public, including whether a public forum or on-site meeting should be held.

“We’re thinking about doing a traffic study, to find out what the parking needs are and what traffic is like before we do anything,” McBrady said.

Town Manager Nathan Poore said a study would likely assess the parking demands at various times.

“We want to know if we have a parking issue or if we don’t,” Poore said, adding he has heard both sides from area residents. “We thought, let’s get some objective data.”

The subcommittee, which includes Councilors Caleb Hemphill, Ned Kitchell and McBrady, has also discussed expanding or subdividing Underwood Park.

“We’re taking our time for sure, we’re not in any kind of rush to do anything,” McBrady said.

When the town originally purchased the property, the plan was to create more parking for Town Landing. However, that project was not pursued, according to Poore, because there was not a great deal of interest from residents in a parking lot.

“The focus is not on whether or not to make a parking lot, we’re just looking back at history,” Poore said of the study. “Part of the debate early on was whether or not there’s adequate parking down there.”

According to town documents, following meetings in 2009 and 2010, the town decided to leave the property untouched and revisit the situation at another time.

McBrady said the subcommittee will look at the cost of a study before bringing it to the council. Following that, he said they will begin looking at ways to garner public input.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

A Town Council sub committee has been meeting since early spring to discuss what to do with vacant property abutting Underwood Park on Foreside Road.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.