Letter: Yes on fees at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth

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No one in Cape Elizabeth is happy about the prospect of charging a parking fee to the visitors of our beautiful park. Yet, it has become very apparent that something must be done. The park’s annual expenses now total $250,000, an expense borne exclusively by the residents through property taxes. The capital needs of the property are estimated at several million dollars, depending on whether one includes the Goddard Mansion in the capital needs.

It was in this context that the council felt compelled to support a pay/display system to help defray the annual costs of maintenance and repair. With any luck, we can then begin to address the sizable capital needs. The proposal for a $1-$5 parking fee still allows for walkers and bikers to enter free, for youth sports and spectators to proceed free, and offers a $20 yearly pass for unlimited visits. That’s twice the daily rate at Scarborough Beach for six months of entry at the fort.

The advisory decision on June 8th will determine future steps to preserve Forth Williams. One way or another, this spectacular property needs to be preserved. It can be paid for through tax dollars or we can spread the responsibility to those visitors who also enjoy spending time at The Fort. To my fellow citizens in Cape, I urge you to vote yes on the referendum on June 8th and begin the process of preserving this breathtaking historic and natural landmark.

Town Councilor Jim Walsh
Cape Elizabeth