In 1989, when I moved to the Willard Square area, I began walking on Willard Beach regularly, mostly in the early mornings before I went to work. What a privilege and joy to be able to experience such beauty. The other “regular strollers” were friendly, welcoming and respectful not only to others, but toward the natural surroundings. Many people scooped up trash left behind by less careful folk. And dog owners picked up after their own dogs and sometimes other dogs. I liked those efforts and participated. And still do, as do the majority of the regulars.
This small piece of the mighty Maine coast is open to all and whatever amenities such as trash cans, play gyms, restrooms, dog bags, life guards, police and animal control officers and excellent public works personnel (who by the way come out in fierce weather if needed) are paid for with South Portland citizen-financed taxes. In that sense the beach is not free. But all people, taxpayers or not, are welcome. I am proud to live in a place that is open, generous and caring.
In 1998 I became a dog owner and will be forever grateful that I had 11 happy years with her. She loved her canine and human friends on the beach. And I do, too. Thank you South Portland.