Topsham board OKs 'pop-up park,' bike path work

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen on July 21 unanimously approved a “pop-up park” party to be held in the Lower Village in September, and awarded a contract for the second phase of a bicycle and pedestrian path in town.

The park is intended to show what a recreational area in the Lower Village might look like, Assistant Town Planner Carol Eyerman said earlier this month.

Eyerman described pop-up parks in a July 11 memo to the Board of Selectmen as “generally temporary, very low-cost, flexible, mobile, highly visible and typically reclaim parking areas for pedestrian use.”

The town-owned parking lot in front of the former fire station, at the corner of Main and Green streets, will be the location, with a 1-4 p.m. event planned for Sept. 10.

Four trees the town received through a Project Canopy grant would be placed in the lot, and then moved to U.S. Route 196 once the park is dismantled. Games and picnic tables may be placed around the lot, as well as two food trucks from Topsham Fair Mall.

The Board of Selectmen also awarded Shaw Brothers Construction a contract to build the next phase of a bike path in town. The bid came in at about $586,000, with the highest bid received being nearly $843,000, according to Planning Director Rod Melanson.

Budgeting the cost to have a full-time construction engineer/inspector throughout the construction, the total project amount comes to about $645,000, Melanson said last week, well below the Maine Department of Transportation’s construction budget of $745,000.

Topsham’s share of the project is 20 percent, or about $129,000.

The first segment of the four-phase project runs along Monument Place from the Topsham Fair Mall to Town Hall, 100 Main St.

The next phase will pick up from there, heading across the street and around the Wright-Pierce office, then east through a forest to Community Drive, parallel to the U.S. Route 196 Coastal Connector. That phase will run roughly 1 mile.

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.