Nequasset Park improvements waiting on funding

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 8:30am

Making Woolwich’s Nequasset Park more Americans With Disabilities Act-accessible will have to wait for funding. The select board and park committee will pursue state matching grants but potential monies won’t become available until next year.

The park is behind the municipal building and includes a swimming area, boat launch and picnic area. The most recent improvements have included new picnic tables and a trash receptacle. Last summer, improvements were made to the parking lot. Parking spaces for people with disabilities were moved closer to the water and paved paths were added leading to the swimming area. The town spent $13,054 of a $15,000 grant and was reimbursed $10,066 from the state, which included $2,601 to develop an engineering plan.

Town officials want to improve an ADA ramp providing access into the lake, add swimming floats and increase security monitoring around the bathroom.

Park Committee members Sue Ellen Whittaker and Joan Jordan hoped the other improvements could have been done this year but understand only so much money was available. The committee and select board want to use as few tax dollars as possible. “Originally, we planned to get everything done this year but the new grant we applied for was turned down,” Whittaker said.

“The problem as I understand it, is we didn’t spend the full $15,000 of the previous grant but I’m not sure the state knew we intended doing this as a two-step project,” she added. Whittaker thinks it will take another $20,000 to finish the ADA improvements and add the swim floats.

The park was constructed in 1995 by Jack Shaw & Sons of Woolwich. The board hired the park’s designer, Pine Tree Engineering, Inc. of Bath, to plan the ADA improvements.

Chairman David King Sr. said he worries about maintenance. “We’ve got to think about the town budgeting for the park’s future maintenance,” he told Jordan and Whittaker when they met with the board for a workshop at the town office Monday, Aug. 19.

“We’re definitely heading in the right direction as far as making the park ADA compliant,” Selectman Jason Shaw told the Wiscasset Newspaper afterwards. “We wanted to do this in phases using mostly grant monies as they became available. We also want to be careful as far as which grants we apply for and what the future obligations are to the town.”

“We don’t want people swimming off the dock at the boat launch area, or diving off the bridge on the George Wright Road. That’s why we want to add the swimming floats,” added Shaw.