Sturgis: Changes on track at Cape Elizabeth Recycling Center

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CAPE ELIZABETH — A redesigned traffic pattern and other safety improvements at the town’s Recycling Center are expected to be completed by this summer, Town Manager Matthew E. Sturgis said.

Bids on the $1.4 million project are due this week, he said.

The improvements were spurred after former Cape Elizabeth Public Works Director Herbert Dennison was killed in November 2014 when he was hit by a car and pushed into a two-story trash hopper.

No criminal charges were pressed against the SUV’s driver, Christine Sharp-Lopez, after police determined she was not impaired by alcohol. Later, Dennison’s widow sued the town and the driver.

Sturgis, now five weeks into his job as town manager, said the Recycling Center work is expected to proceed without incident. 

“Hopefully, this is going to be a positive chapter,” Sturgis said about the station’s history.

A schematic drawing provided by engineer Randy Tome of Woodard & Curran shows well-defined entrances into the center, stop signs and pavement markings.

The center remains at its original location off Spurwink Avenue. That roadway is now known as Dennison Drive, in tribute to Dennison’s longtime public-service career. 

Budget planning

Financial details of the town’s next municipal budget were not ready for release on Wednesday, Sturgis said.

Sturgis is expected on March 13 to present and review the proposed municipal budget to the Town Council. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, and will be followed by two budget workshops on March 21 and 22.

“We’re looking to have a conservative budget,” Sturgis said.

The current operating budget, in effect through June 30, is $29.5 million. Residents and businesses now pay a tax rate of $17.54 per $1,000 property valuation.

One department will be expanded for a higher level of coverage, Sturgis said. Two additional Emergency Medical Services employees will help increase coverage throughout Cape Elizabeth. 

“The volunteers in public safety are stretched, and they are among the most dedicated individuals you’ll ever meet,” Sturgis said.

The two trained EMS employees will be ready to respond to any calls for service, taking stress off of public safety volunteers. 

“With any budget, the primary focus is the health, safety and welfare of the community,” Sturgis said.

Lisa Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.