SOUTH PORTLAND — City councilors added the neighborhood around Sawyer Park to the areas where sex offenders may not reside.
Councilors on Tuesday also postponed discussion on a proposal to reconstruct access stairs to Willard Beach from Deake Street.
Councilor Kate Lewis said the park at 25 Westbrook St. has been a great addition to the Thornton Heights community, and the city should do all it can to protect children who use it.
The City Council’s unanimous vote (with Councilor Eben Rose absent) means convicted sex offenders are barred from living with 750 feet of the park, which is at the intersection of Main and Westbrook streets.
Police Chief Edward Googins recommended the action as part of an annual review by the Police Department, in conjunction with the Planning Department. He said there no offenders who now live near the park.
In 2009, the Maine Legislature enacted a law that allows municipalities to enact residency restrictions on people convicted of felony crimes against children under age 14, according to a memorandum from Googins to City Manager Scott Morelli.
There are 26 registered sex offenders living in the city, according to the Maine Sex Offender Registry. A map of the city’s restricted residential areas is available from the city at https://goo.gl/mxACDh.
The item to award a bid to repair the stairs to Willard Beach at the end of Deake Street was taken off the agenda and put back on the workshop schedule for further review.
Councilor Claude Morgan, who represents the Willard Beach neighborhood, sought the additional meeting because there were objections in the neighborhood to spending $41,000 to fix the stairs in favor of more expensive, and extensive work to also repair a ramp at the same location.
The issue will be discussed May 8 workshop, City Manager Scott Morelli said.
This map provide to the South Portland City Council indicates residential areas in the city where sex offenders may not live. The addition of Sawyer Park at Main and Westbrook streets is circled in red.