2017-06-14 / Front Page

Trail builders propose forming formal committee

By Dee Menear Irregular Staff Writer

KINGFIELD — The Board of Selectmen met with representatives from Kingfield Trail Builders during its June 5 meeting. Representative Polly MacMichael spoke on behalf of the group. “Just to give you a little history, we asked to receive TIF funds in the amount of $4,000, which went in front of the budget committee,” MacMichael explained. The budget committee did not recommend funding the group because it is not connected with an existing group or non-profit organization. Selectmen did not make a recommendation on funding the group’s efforts. At Town Meeting, voters ultimately decided not to fund the initiative.

MacMichael presented a list of “specific asks” to selectmen regarding trail building in Kingfield. “The first is to be recognized by the Town, Selectmen and the Town Manager as a non-motorized trail committee to be overseen by you and the Town Manager,” stated MacMichael. According to MacMichael, the group is also seeking $4,000 or more for non-motorized trail building in 2017. Additionally, the group is seeking land use permission for the town-owned land along the Carrabassett River.

The mission, MacMichael said, was to connect all the non-motorized trail initiatives in the area. She said there could be a hundred miles of trail in no time.

“To me, the whole concept is a great idea,” stated Selectman Wade Browne, however he pointed out the requested funding would have to be asked for at a Town Meeting, which was held Saturday, June 3.

“It’s going to be a little bit before we have another one,” he reminded the group.

As is the board’s tradition, selectmen will review the proposal before making a decision and moving forward.

MacMichael invited selectmen to the next trail work night which will be held Wednesday, June 14 at 5:30 p.m. on the trail off Stanley Avenue.

Tammy Goldfrank, a representative of Maine’s High Peaks, stated she had heard negative comments regarding perceived involvement with a similarly named Facebook group after the Town Meeting.

“People apparently think that we are the ones managing Maine’s High Peaks Community Facebook page. I think that hurt us a little bit on our vote,” Goldfrank stated. Maine’s High Peaks made a $6,000 request to the town to help support its mission of regional tourism. Carrabassett Valley and Eustis voters consistently approve supporting the non-profit organization. Kingfield voters also support Maine’s High Peaks but do not fund the full request. Voters this year decided to give $2,500 to Maine’s High Peaks, following a closely defeated motion to give it $4,000.

“I just want you to know that they have nothing to do with us. We have our own Facebook page; we don’t take a stand on any business. We support all business,” Goldfrank stated.

The Facebook page Goldfrank spoke of has since changed its name to Carrabassett River Valley Community Forum and is self-described as a group “working together to promote sustainable growth with locally owned businesses, locally produced food and crafts, outdoor recreation, and nature-based tourism... and to preserve the historic charm of our small towns.” The group has been publicly opposed to the proposed Dollar General discount store currently being reviewed by the Planning Board.

The board meets the first and third Monday of each month. The next meeting will be held June 19 at 6 p.m. in Webster Hall. Meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.

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