New Maine Turnpike exits among priorities for Cumberland council

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CUMBERLAND — Creation of a West Cumberland interchange on the Maine Turnpike is one of the projects the Town Council identified as a priority at a workshop Monday.

Councilors also said they want to concentrate on possibly moving a town and school garage.

The garage project is part of the larger Village Green Revitalization Master Plan.

Bateman Partners of Portland has been developing two out of three phases of the plan. Phase III, conversion of the former Drowne Road School to senior housing, is finished, while Phase I, development of single-family homes, is about 60 percent complete, Town Manager Bill Shane said Tuesday.

Phase II, still in the concept stages, would see the Public Works and school bus facilities moved, and single-family townhouse-like homes built in their place, along with a mixed-use building that would contain residential rental units as well as commercial space.

The Cumberland/North Yarmouth joint standing committee will soon determine how much interest there is in the towns creating a joint town/school public works facility, to be used by both towns and School Administrative District 51, Shane said.

The North Yarmouth Economic Development and Sustainability Committee has proposed relocating or regionalizing its Public Works facility as part of a multi-year plan, and converting that site to affordable workforce housing and cottage-style housing.

“The timing for both of us might be … right,” Shane said.

Another major priority are northbound and southbound on- and off-ramps near Mile 57 of the Maine Turnpike in West Cumberland, Shane said.

The interchanges would allow access to the Maine Turnpike from Forest Lake Road and Route 100, where Cumberland has been trying to generate more commercial activity.

“We’re working with consultants now to help prepare a request with (the Maine Turnpike Authority) to make this happen,” Shane said.

Reconstruction of Middle Road, and the completion of work on Range Road and Route 100, are other priorities the Town Council discussed.

With installation on the horizon of a natural gas pipeline through Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth, councilors said the town must know which roads will be impacted first, so that paving plans can be adjusted accordingly.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.