Amato’s to join Main Street line-up
An Amato’s sandwich shop is coming to Bridgton, albeit a scaled down version.
The shop will be located inside the former Red Shield Heating oil Office of CN Brown Company’s Big Apple Store on Main Street.
The project, which did not require planning board review but was reviewed by town department heads, will involve removing a wall between the vacant heating oil office and Big Apple Store, adding a front counter and kitchen equipment.
From the print version of the Bridgton News.
According to Superintendent Beecher, the crews were to be finished in April. That projected end date was pushed back to June, and now the project won’t be completed until about Oct. 1.
LRHS, has been gutted and is undergoing complete renovation. Other programs such as drafting, culinary arts and health care can still meet in a modular set of classrooms…students not only from LRHS, but also from SADs 72 and 55 attend the vocational center.
Lakes Region Weekly
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum & Return of the Rails
I attended a meeting yesterday between Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and several different committees from the Town of Bridgton. It was an eye opening experience. They have no business plan set for moving their collection to whatever town they decide. No cost analysis. They say that it is something that they should be thinking about and probably should have thought about before coming to this meeting. They are more concerned about what we can offer them than what they have to offer us. There was an individual there who works for a bank and said something along the line that you have no business plan, you have no cash, all you have are antiques that you list as assets and because a business plan is going to be the same for about 80% and the remaining 10 to 20 percent would be town specific...I would have to deny you any type of loan because you have failed to produce any type of business plan.
Then they told us that it would be at least two to five years before they would be able to start moving pieces of the collection up here because they would need to raise the money to do so because they lack the funds.
Then it was brought up that we are being asked to hold a piece of property for two to five years while they raise the funds to move the collection up here while we have up to seven other interested investors in the same piece of property and then they say that they may not need the whole thing.
They also left us with the feeling that they want us to get permission from all the land owners to run railbed through their property. The guy from Return of the Rails said he had gotten permission from all of them already. I find that hard to believe because some of the pieces of property are actually for sale and one of them actually goes through a gravel pit, an active gravel pit, one of which is going to cost and not just going to be given away.
They told us they get their revenue in the following order: ticket sales, admissions, grants, fund raisers, & memberships. They said they get about $40,000 in grants a year, but a place like Bridgton where it would have historical significance and they would have a chance to get a lot more in grant money from the federal and state government. They also said it would give them a chance to tap the local resources up here as well and boy did that get a negative reaction because it is the local businesses that help with programs like heating oil assistance and food pantries and if they are helping with the railroad then that leaves less money for their programs to help the needy people in the community.
When they left, they said to somebody that they felt that the town of Bridgton had just told them to go pound sand. This is paraphrazed, I can't use the exact words here. I can say this, if anybody from Gray is reading this I would call for a meeting with them and be asking a lot of the same questions we did and find out the truth.
We had members from the Selectmen, Economic Development Corporation, Community Development Committee, Historical Society, Comprehensive Plan Committee, as well as members of the public and local press.
8/9 Selectmen's Meeting
CEO & Police Dept is being asked to enforce some situations going on, in, and around the boat launches in town...especially at Highland Lake. No swimming in the boat launch area. There is no fishing allowed in the boat launch area. There is no vehicles or boat trailers allowed to be parked in these areas as well. They must park their vehicles and boat trailers in designated parking areas. This has been a real problem lately. There have been a lot of problems at Highland Lake where residents would bring their boats down, dock them and leave for a few hours leaving no space for boats to load and unload. There will be a 15 minute limit for loading and unloading. They are going to post Moose Pond, Woods Pond, and Highland Lake as such.
CEO, Fire Chief, & Police Chief are going to share their opinions on whether or not we are going to sell fire works in Bridgton. It will most likely go to referendum in November or June.
Recycling - The town is looking to create an amendment to the recycling ordinance that includes all residents, businesses, non-profits, and commercial haulers. Everybody will be forced to recycle or they will be given a warning on first offense after that they will be given a fine...the other option being considered is to remove their rights to use the transfer station.
Why hasn’t construction started yet on the new McDonald’s Restaurant.
It is a question that many have been asking for months and which is being asked more frequently as summer winds down.
Developer, Mark Lopez, said that right now we are in the process of finalizing the budget numbers and they just got the numbers from CMP, which was the last one. Now I have to sit down with the tenants and finalize the lease.
This from the print version of the Bridgton News
Plan: Building a Better Bridgton
Bridgton has been a business and tourism anchor of northern Cumberland County for over 200 years, and has enjoyed the benefits of location, geography and a reliable tax base. This current recession has hit the area however, which also presents an opportunity to retrench and rethink Bridgton’s future.
We can build a better Bridgton, which must not be either the blight of vacant buildings currently lining Main Street or the anonymous sprawl of North Windham.
2011-2012 Tax Mil Rate is $12.70
The tax bills will be issued in approximately 7-14 days from the Commitment date of 8/10/2011. The payments are due on 9/24/2011; 11/15/2011; 2/15/2012 and 5/15/2012. Thank you for your patience.
Town of Bridgton
Tax bills are running almost two months behind because it took so long to pass the school budget. Normally they would have been due on August 15th, but they won't have been mailed out by that point yet.
Award to SAD 61
When it comes to serving “healthy” foods, SAD 61, is amongst the nation’s best.
Four SAD 61 schools have joined an exclusive national list of schools recognized by the USDA’s Healthier School Challenge. The schools include Lake Region Middle School, Sebago Elementary, Songo Locks Elementary, and Stevens Brook Elementary.
The schools have earned the recognition held by less than 2% of schools across the country.
The program was spearheaded by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Walmart…
Planning begins for the next Depot Street Festival
The first year was fun, the second year was better. The third year (2011) dramatic changes were made that put this event on the calendar. Carnival rides and games added excitement; pig roast was delicious and sold out, the vendors provided variety, the music topped off everything. Moving the event to the Stevens Brook Elementary School grounds blew the possibilities wide open.
A lot of the money raised went to the Bridgton Community Center.
Former Bridgton reserve officer faces domestic assault charge
A former Bridgton reserve police officer has been charged with domestic violence assault and violating the conditions of release.
Michael Lothrop was a reserve officer for the town of Bridgton until his resignation Aug. 2, the day after his domestic violence assault charge.
According to Lt. McAllister of the Fryeburg police, Lothrop was a reserve officer there for several years, but left last winter.
Lothrop also formerly worked as a dispatcher for York County SO.
I would imagine his career in law enforcement is pretty much over.
Public Design Session
The Comprehensive Plan Committee is working on a new Form Based Code guideline to streamline future residential and commercial projects in town, making both more inviting to developers and homeowners. This is an exciting effort and is open to all residents of Bridgton.
We are holding a public design session on August 25 at 6:30 at the Bridgton Municipal Building. This is an interactive meeting of local home owners, business owners, town planners, and architects…
From the print version of the Lakes Region Weekly.
Facebook for Bridgton Comprehensive Plan Committee
November election date information
August 23rd – Board of Selectmen will review proposed municipal referendum questions.
September 13th – Orders by the Board of Selectman for placement of municipal questions on the ballot.
September 26th – Deadline for voters to submit petitions for placement on the referendum ballot.
October 10th – Absentee ballots will be available from the town clerk.
November 8th – Election Day
From the print version of the Bridgton News
The switchover from Bridgton Dispatch to the Cumberland County Dispatch Center in Windham will take place at 7am on Monday, August 22nd.
Anyone needing emergency or non-emergency services from the Bridgton Police Department after 7am on that date should do exactly what they did before said Town Manager Berkowitz.
If people remember just one thing: If you have an emergency, dial 9-1-1 and for a non-emergency, dial 647-8814. Nothing has changed.
’Little Mountain’ gets prelim okay
The Bridgton Planning Board gave preliminary approval to 14 lots on ‘Little Mountain’, providing Fire Chief Glen Garland signs off on their decision. It was unclear whether he would do so, however.
Garland met with the town CEO and the Town Manager as well as developers of the subdivision… a week after serious questions were raised about the steep grades and non-conforming narrow roads for the project, the board wanted it to meet NFPA codes…
In a new ruling by the town’s administration they have had all the town’s committee members and board members sign a form stating they will step aside during a conflict of interest. For a lot of us it meant signing this thing multiple times because we had to sign it for each committee and board that we sit on.
Then last night it all hit the fan. We all got to see exactly why we were signing these foolish things. We nailed one of our own selectmen with it less than 24 hours after it went into effect. Let me back up for a second, the town owns a campground, Salmon Point, and this selectman has a seasonal site there and guess what the topic of discussion was last night…that campground. The selectman, Paul Hoyt, is not in favor of increasing fees…well why would he be. It turns out that of other campgrounds that are also of similar size and run by towns they have dock fees, they have slip fees, they have mooring fees, the seasonal fee is higher, and the weekly and nightly rates are higher. They also are marketed a whole lot better than ours is. All these boat fees that I mention is something they want to do away with at ours because it does not bring in much revenue…mainly as it turns out they do not charge much. During the meeting it became very clear that Selectman Hoyt could not stay impartial and was not asked to step away from the selectmen’s table once, or twice, but three times before he did and join the audience.
Anyway, this is going to be revisited again and now that they know who charges what and we now know that we charge half what everybody else does, we know that we need to bring ourselves in line with the others, but we will have to do so incrementally and not all at once. Right now it is being run like an enterprise and what is being proposed is that we continue as we are, or run it like a business, lease it if we can, or sell it if we can. The “if we can” is dependent on what we are allowed to do as we used Trust Fund money to purchase this 15 years ago and we need to read the purchase agreement on what we can and can’t do. This campground, after expenses, brings in about $60,000 to the town’s general fund. Think about what the town would be taking in if we were more in line with the other campgrounds.
Fundraising drive not for Bridgton Hospital
Some Lake Region area community members recently received mass fundraising mailings called the “2011 Bridgton Cancer Drive”
This organization operating the fundraising drive has multiple addresses – including North Carolina, Kansas, and Louisiana – for the public to send donation checks.
These donations do not benefit Bridgton Hospital or its oncology specialty clinic.
“They have no affiliation with Bridgton Hospital and do not benefit our patients,” said a hospital official.
Place where love of cigars celebrated
The New Hampshire jeweler and his wife have had a dream for some years now, to open a cigar lounge — a place for cigar aficionados to buy a premium, handmade cigar, then sit back, relax and enjoy some good company among fellow aficionados.
His prices will average from $4 to $35 a cigar. Cigars from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic are best, he said “There are a lot of closet cigar smokers”
He plans to use one room upstairs as a smoking / sports room with large screen televisions and in another room upstairs it will be a quiet smoking room for reading, chess playing, and internet access. Both rooms will have an air filtration system attached to them to filter out the smoke.
Downstairs there will be one retail shop for cigars and cigar accessories. In another room there will be a retail shop for fine wine. In yet one other room there will be a jewelry store with a repair business.
They are making it very clear that there will be no cigarette sales or cigarette smoking allowing in this place. They also say the next closest cigar lounge is in Biddeford and the next closest place to buy a decent cigar is in Freeport. This could certainly put a whole new spin on things in Western Maine.
Residents endorse Portland Rd. vision
Alan Manoian let members of the Comprehensive Plan Committee explain the concept of form-based codes at last week’s “People’s Choice” public design session.
At three separate stations, where maps of sections of the Portland Road corridor were laid out along tables, the 11 committee members took turns explaining the nuances of transects, build-to lines, window proportionality and streetscapes — all part of the language of form-based codes.
We have received a few e-mails since this session last week showing a lot of support for what we have been working on and which direction they would like to see us go next. Some have even suggested their own ideas, which is also something we want to hear about. It will go before the voters in June of next year to adopt what we have been working on.
Stay tuned as we start to move into the next phase which is technical and regulatory work of form based code.
Bridgton Hannaford: Sidewalk Success Story
“Hannaford is pleased to support the town’s plans to improve pedestrian mobility”. The sidewalk will be constructed on the right side of the right-turn driveway for southbound Route 302 traffic into the parking lot. It will extend all the way down to the parking spots beside the supermarket building. Because there is a railing there, the access way will be narrowed from 15 to around 11 feet wide, still allowing plenty of room for vehicles.
Pedestrians had been using a couple of pallots to cross over a gully to get to Hannford to avoid traffic turning into Hannaford while they are trying to get there at the same time. There was nothing in the ordinances that required Hannaford to build these sidewalks and now after several department heads signed off on a letter sent to Hannaford attached with some pictures they have agreed to install some sidewalks next spring. McDonalds has already agreed to put them out front on Portland Road and on the road going up to Hancock Lumber not to mention as well as around their building.
Illegal Door to Door Sales
BPD is investigating illegal door-to-door sales violators who have been paving driveways. If you have recently had an offer for this service please contact Officer Phil Jones at 647-8814. Also please check out the Attorney General's website for a current list of Maine's door-to-door sales laws.
Bridgton PD Facebook
Plan to enhance Shorey Park, improve travel frow
“What we want to do – there are four goals,” said Dee Miller. “One is to define the shoreline of the mill pond; Two, we want to improve the water quality (Storm runoff) from Creamery Street and create a more effective buffer; Three to update safety for the public - (referring to the footbridge); and Four, to increase public flow and attractiveness throughout the park.
Camping fees to be raised by 6% at Salmon Point Campground
Four out of five members of the Bridgton Select Board … one abstained for conflict of interest, to raise fees for next year by six percent at the town owned Salmon Point Campground.
This means that waterfront sites will go from $2407 to $2551. A campsite by the lagoon that was $1980 will now be $2099 and back lot sites that were $1685 will now be $1786.
In the coming months there will workshops held. Later there will be a committee made up of select board members, campers, and Bridgton citizens.
From Texas to Maine, new Pastor arrives at Presbyterian Church
The couple moved here in March of this year with their five young children. After Pastor Tim Beauchamp accepted the position of pastor, before he accepted the position, they held a congregational meeting.
We left Amarillo and it was 80+ and 20 degrees in Bridgton with snow banks higher than our Chevy Suburban.
I earned my Biblical Studies Degree from California Baptist University and a Masters in Divinity from Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, CA.
This is quite the family and I can say this with quite the authority because they live next door to me. They have the most wonderful kids. The oldest being 11 and the youngest being 3. They have one daughter who is a year older than my daughter and another that is a year younger. Talk about three kids that like to play together a lot.
The parents are the nicest people as well. I could not have asked for better neighbors. We may go to different churches and a lot of the same beliefs and a lot of the same morals, it is kind of funny how things work out in life sometimes.
Redneck Lounge in, Trailside out, and Blueberries & Me no more
It used to be, Kilborn could comfortably close her specialty gift shop, Blueberries & ME, in downtown Bridgton over the winter, and open back up in late spring…but no more.
Trailside Steak & Seafood Restaurant, closed abruptly last week, so abruptly that employees reportedly weren’t even aware of its closing until they showed up for work the next day.
Redneck Lounge in Naples... will initially lease then purchase… where Mountainside Restaurant in Bridgton, had operated.
Bridgton volunteer arrested on multiple charges of sexual offenses
…charged with the crimes of class A and B Gross Sexual Assault, class C Unlawful Sexual Contact and class D Unlawful Sexual Touching. The arrest stems from an incident that had occurred in the Town of Bridgton during the month of August 2011. At this point in time the investigation is ongoing and evolving.
Bridgton Fire and Bridgton Recreation Departments have suspended Mr. Charles Robbins from all Department activities and events until further notice.
Bridgton Police Facebook
Tom Tash believes by suspending him that it is for the better for the programs, volunteers, and its participants. No statement was made by the Fire Chief.
Narrow Gauge Railroad trains its sights on finding new, roomier home
The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is looking for a new home.
Only four -- Bridgton, Gray, Monson and Portland -- expressed interest in hosting the railroad and museum.
Bridgton is offering land behind a former elementary school off Depot Street, Brandes said.
He said museum officials have also begun discussions with officials in Gray and Monson, in Piscataquis County.
Portland Mayor Nicholas Mavodones said the city is interested in keeping the Narrow Gauge.
The problem with this article is that it leads you to believe that MNGR has not made up their mind and they have, they are going to Gray. They took a vote on Tuesday to this effect.
MNGR Selects Gray for relocation
Directors of the Portland based MNGR voted Tuesday to explore options with the Town of Gray in the relocation of its rolling stock and museum.
Durham said the board acted on the unanimous recommendation made by the relocation committee, and directed them to begin tailoring development of their detailed business plan, which had been more general and verbal, to now cover only the Town of Gray.
Town, unions reach new contract
Bridgton police and public works employees have a three-year contract in place, after the Bridgton Board of Selectmen voted to accept the terms reached in negotiations that took place over past months.
Selectmen Triglione, Hoyt, Taft, and Woodward voted unanimously to accept the terms of both contracts.
“It appears we have agreement from all parties related to the Police Department,” Bridgton Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz told selectmen and the public, at Tuesday night’s selectmen’s meeting.
Safety Assistant Hired
The Town of Bridgton has named Terri Stone of Naples as its first Public Safety Administrative Asistant.
The new position was created because the town’s local dispatch services have been transferred to Cumberland County in Windham.
Stone will begin her duties on Sept. 29th.
Chief Schofield said she had been selected from a field of over 35 applicants.
Stone previously worked in the field of Public Safety in Vermont as an administrative assistant and dispatcher.
From the print version of Bridgton News.
Selectmen support budget committee
The Bridgton Board of Selectman voted unanimously Tuesday night to appoint a Budget Committee to advise them and make recommendations throughout the Fiscal Year 2013 budget formulation process.
Town Manager Berkowitz first recommended a seven member panel then recommended a nine member panel because of absenteeism.
One of the requirements this year is that a couple of representatives will have to attend the school board meetings as 68% of our budget goes to the schools.
Selectmen inform committees how to conduct meetings
When an individual is appointed to a committee in the Town of Bridgton, they have certain responsibilities regarding how they conduct meetings and how they conduct themselves.
That’s the message the Board of Selectman gave the chairmen and vice-chairmen of various committees that have appointed in town.
The focus was set to focus on each committee’s mission and authority, conducting meetings, posting agendas, the taking of minutes, and conflict of interest.
Here is the problem, they tell these people how to conduct themselves and then when these people submit something to the Bridgton News as a Letter To The Editor, instead of putting citizen of Bridgton under their name (meaning the Bridgton News)…they put the fact that they are a member of whatever board they are on, even when the person has stated that they are writing as a citizen of Bridgton. It is the Bridgton News who changes that bottom line, which I don’t think is right. Just My Opinion.