Yarmouth vote paves way for Condon path; council postpones turf field decision

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YARMOUTH — The final section of the Beth Condon Pathway received the official OK from the Town Council on Monday night after months of deliberation.

The council also postponed until next month a decision on the $1.5 million turf field at Yarmouth High School.

The majority of the $500,000 pathway project will be paid for through a grant from the Maine Department of Transportation, which obligates the town to pay 20 percent. 

The council initially approved the project in October 2011, and it subsequently went through a couple design changes before Monday’s action.

The pathway extension, which will likely not break ground until 2014, will reduce southbound U.S. Route 1 to one lane beneath the East Main Street overpass to make room for the 1.6-mile path. The path will connect Hannaford Bros. plaza to East Main Street. 

The path will have 8 feet of surface for pedestrians and 5 feet of esplanade space, all raised about 6 inches above the current roadway. A dedicated bicycle lane between Route 1 and the esplanade will also be installed.

Turf field

The council’s decision to postpone a vote to put the turf field project on the November ballot came after a presentation from the athletic field committee, which led to more questions about financing.

Patrick Maguire, consultant for Activitas, the consulting firm hired to plan the field with the committee, described a field in dire need of repair.

The current state of the field is a safety hazard and leaves athletes exposed to potential injuries, he said.

The proposed plan calls for complete carpet removal, a new drainage system, new turf and improvements to the support underneath the turf.

It also will put the infrastructure in place to eventually have netting installed around the field to allow sports like lacrosse and some track and field practices to use the field simultaneously.

The field will have a lifespan of about 10 years, according to the proposal.

The committee’s proposal did not include amenities such as a snack bar, locker rooms, logos at mid-field and both end zones, a public address system, and lighting, because those would put the cost over budget.

The town is still paying on the original 12-year-old turf field and councilors expressed concern about the longevity of the new field, potentially leaving them in the position to be paying for three fields at once.

Those concerns led to the decision to postpone any action on the field until their next meeting, Aug. 2.

In another vote, the council approved a $100 increase for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, LIHEAP, raising it to $400 a year. The program helps low-income families pay for fuel to heat their homes.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or wgraff@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.