Topsham selectmen weigh 'pop-up park,' bike path bid

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TOPSHAM — With a blessing anticipated from the Board of Selectmen, a “pop-up park” party in the Lower Village will be held in September.

Selectmen on Thursday are also expected to vote on a contract for the second phase of a bicycle and pedestrian path in town.

The park is intended to show what a park in the Lower Village, long-discussed in Topsham, might look like in that area, Assistant Town Planner Carol Eyerman said in an interview Monday.

“We’ve been talking about it for quite some time,” she said. “There’s a plan that includes a park for down there. … No one’s ever sort of demo’ed it at all in this location. This is to give everyone an idea of what it might look like.”

Eyerman in a July 11 memo to the Board of Selectmen described the parks 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, is being eyed by the town as the site, 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.

So far, there would be no expense to the town, Eyerman said. Details for the fall event are still being developed, but games and picnic tables around the lot could be in the mix, as well as two food trucks from Topsham Fair Mall.

The town is also working with landowners surrounding the lot, so they are aware of the plan and can help develop it, if they so choose.

The Portland City Council last May approved a pop-up park on a 100-foot-long block of Federal Street, between Market and Exchange streets.

Also on July 21, the Board of Selectmen is expected to vote on a bike path contract, with a recommendation from Town Planner Rod Melanson.

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.