Topsham selectmen support new name for Navy Annex

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Aug. 19 for the renaming of the U.S. Navy Annex as Topsham Commerce Park as part of the closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Topsham Development had presented the board with a list of 40 annex name suggestions submitted since June by the public. The organization recommended four top choices: Cathance Business Park, Topsham Commerce Park, the Topsham Annex and Topsham Commerce Center.

While she initially said she did not like the top four choices, favoring instead the suggestion Freedom Square Business Park, Selectman Sandra Consolini said her preference among the top four is Topsham Commerce Park. Selectman Don Russell, who had said the town should be part of the name, agreed with Consolini.

Selectman Jim Trusiani also voiced support for that option. But he noted that since much of the annex land had belonged to the Ward family, their name should be incorporated in the property’s future development.

Harold Sandelin, whose grandfather was longtime Selectman Harold S. Ward, echoed that sentiment.

“In the early ’50s, the Air Force came along and took this land (through) eminent domain,” he said. “They basically stole it … from us.”

Sandelin’s family had submitted the Ward name as a suggestion for the annex.

After hearing Sandelin’s comments, Consolini said she supported Trusiani’s recommendation “100 percent.”

Mentioning the possibility of a plaque or the naming of a recreational field on the property, she said, “there has to be something to recognize this family.”

Selectmen voted unanimously to indicate to the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority and Topsham Development their “strong interest” that the Ward name be incorporated as the annex is redeveloped.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

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.