It’s too bad that the site plan presented by Martin’s Point Health Care to the South Portland City Council depicted the largest possible scale. The 17,000-square-foot structure with 85 parking spaces horrified residents of this neighborhood. Most distressing is the disappearance of Hamlin Field and relocation of the community gardens.
I can see the field and community gardens from my kitchen window. I can’t imagine seeing them paved over. The field has always been a focal point of the neighborhood. Since the community gardens went in, that patch of green has become even more special.
I watch gardeners of all ages tend their beds. People walking or biking down Sawyer Street stop to admire the plots and chat about them. The three dedicated Harvest for Hunger beds have provided over a ton of fresh, organic produce to the South Portland Food Cupboard in three years. The gardens are a South Portland showcase. I hope the gardens and green area beyond them will be a part of our neighborhood forever.
I’d welcome an attractive, nicely landscaped facility in place of the obsolete school and outbuilding. I’d like to see the broken-down chain link fence on my street replaced with one that would allow easier access to the gardens and field. I think development that respects and enhances the historic use of the Hamlin green area would be a great asset to our neighborhood.
I’m hoping Martin’s Point will present us with a workable compromise in which we’ll all win.