Topsham nets grant for commemorative park

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TOPSHAM — The town’s 250th anniversary this year will be marked by a commemorative park along Topsham’s bicycle path, thanks to an $8,000 Maine Forest Service grant.

The town applied for the Project Canopy funding last November, and received word last month of its approval. Work on the park is due to begin after July 1, with a dedication ceremony in the fall.

As described in a Jan. 28 memo from Planning Director Rich Roedner to Town Manager Cornell Knight and the Board of Selectmen, the park will consist of a path that meanders off the bicycle trail along Monument Way. It will be about 3,000 square feet.

Trees and shrubs will be planted, and a sitting area established, along with a granite “commemorative feature” that recognizes Topsham’s anniversary. A “specimen hybridized Elm Tree” will also be planted.

“We’re thrilled,” Roedner said Monday. “As part of doing the bike path, (the Maine Department of Transportation) has cut the original budget back and back and back, and eliminated a lot of the accessories, (such as) landscaping (and) benching. … So this allows us to put something back into the bike path as a whole. It also allows us to create … a commemorative park.”

“It will be a nice addition to the town,” he added.

The grant is to be matched by in-kind donations, largely in the form of staff and equipment time spent by the Public Works department in building the park and planting trees, Roedner explained.

The bike path runs from Topsham Fair Mall Road to Main Street, and the town is in the DOT budget cycle for 2016 to extend it across Main Street and to Community Drive, Roedner said.

Topsham kicked off its year-long anniversary celebration with a New Year’s Eve bonfire at the Topsham Fairgrounds.

Log onto the Topsham 250 steering committee’s Facebook page, “Topsham, Maine 250th Celebration,” and its website,, to learn more, get in touch with the committee, share ideas or to volunteer to help with the year’s events.

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

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.