Food vendors invited back to Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Add ice cream to the treats visitors may be able to buy at Fort Williams Park after the Town Council approved a second season of food vending on Monday night.

Town Manager Mike McGovern said the program brought in between $10,000 and $11,000 last year, and with a few changes, is expected to generate about $14,000 in the 2012 season.

The program has been altered slightly for the second year. There will be four vendor sites – two at the Portland Head Light Circle, one at the Ship Channel Overlook, and a new site at Ship Cove Beach – and permits will run from May 1 through Oct. 31.

The minimum bid for the beach site is $2,500; the other sites start at $4,000. The beach site vendor will also be required to serve cold beverages and ice cream.

McGovern said an additional change is the location of the vendor on hill, occupied last year by Karl and Sarah Sutton of Bite into Maine. That permit will be moved across the street to avoid encroaching on a handicapped parking space, he said.

While there are no recorded statistics from last year’s program, McGovern said the vendors – who largely sold hot dogs, lobster rolls and beverages – anecdotally reported they “did well,” and he believes “most of them are interested in coming back.”

Requests for proposals are available now and are due at Town Hall by Thursday, Jan. 26, McGovern said. Applications will be reviewed by a committee made up of McGovern, Public Works Director Bob Malley and Fort Williams Advisory Commission members Erin Grady and Bill Brownell.

In other business, McGovern gave the council an update on discussions with motor coach, trolley and cruise ship tour bus companies regarding fees at Fort Williams Park for the 2012 season. The council voted 5-2 in November to institute a $40-per-entry tour bus fee and $1,500 fee per season for trolleys at Fort Williams Park.

McGovern said there is proposal to offer a $5-per-bus-trip discount to any operator that brings in at least 100 buses per year. The discount will be applied to the companies that agree to insure the town and agree to work with the town on monthly billings.

He said the tour companies have been cooperative.

Additionally, McGovern said the town is investigating the use of a “greeter” at the park, someone who will be responsible for making sure the fees are collected, welcoming and explaining the park to visitors, and giving directions to the food vendors or other places to eat or visit in Cape Elizabeth.

“One of the issues the motor coach industry had is what is the added value are you giving us for this (fee), so we were looking at ways to give them added value as well as giving the entire park and the entire community added value, and we think this greeter plan does that,” McGovern said.

The council also unanimously approved an access and utility easement to the high school driveway from 349 Ocean House Road, the site of a proposed gourmet market. Resident Michael Concannon plans to build the market and offices at the corner of Route 77 and the high school driveway, but needed council approval because the town owns the driveway.

Concannon must also pay $5,000 to the School Department.

There will be public hearings on Monday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. in Town Hall to discuss revisions to the Fort Williams Park master plan and to discuss a proposed sewer rate increase.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.

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The Cape Elizabeth Town Council on Monday, Jan. 9, approved a second season for food vendors at Fort Williams Park. There will be four sites this year, two in the Portland Head Light circle, one at the Ship Channel Overlook and one at the Ship Cove Beach. All sites will be available from May 1 through Oct. 31.

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