North Yarmouth parks panel to unveil planning document

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NORTH YARMOUTH — The town’s Parks and Recreation Committee will present the first draft of a planning document at a community forum Wednesday, Jan. 14.

The first-draft document, which follows weeks of input the committee has received from the Board of Selectmen and town staff, will direct the panel’s future activities and agenda.

The meeting, where public input is welcome, will be held at the Town Hall meeting room at 7 p.m.

In developing the document, the parks committee looked holistically at North Yarmouth, and the activities and interests of its residents, Chairman Brian Sites said Monday.

“It’s not just like a one-year (plan), or 10-year,” he explained. “It’s a hundred-year plan, which can be updated as we go.”

Promotion of the town’s assets is also important, Sites said.

Stakeholders involved in outdoor recreation in town who may wish to be part of the process include hikers, hunters, bicyclists, canoeists, kayakers, equestrians, snowmobilers, walkers and runners, “and everyone else in that mix, so that their concerns, questions and input is heard and included in any plans we have,” he said.

Representatives from the Royal River Conservation Trust will also attend the forum, to discuss Cumberland and North Yarmouth’s potential acquisition and preservation of the approximately $1 million, 215-acre Knight’s Pond and Blueberry Hill parcel, which straddles both towns.

Both the North Yarmouth Board of Selectmen and Cumberland Town Council have expressed preliminary support for the project, according to the trust. About 50 acres of the property is in North Yarmouth.

It doesn’t stop with next week’s forum. Public attendance in encouraged at all the group’s meetings, held at Town Hall at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month, Sites said. Although the committee currently has a full five-member roster, other help is always needed in areas from trail maintenance to grant writing.

“What we really want to do is get people who not only want to hear about this plan, but want to be involved going forward,” Sites said. “There are enough activities to go around.”

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.