PAC to write report

Discussion of trees for Main Street
Posted:  Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 2:45pm

The Wiscasset Downtown Public Advisory Committee on Monday discussed plans to write a final report to selectmen about the committee’s responsibilities, now that it is in its final weeks.

Bill Maloney said he hopes to provide the board with a report of activities since the inception, by July 24, but acknowledged it could take a little longer.

Several members brought up the issue of trees on Main Street again. Despite strong public support for trees along the road in the survey the PAC and Maine Department of Transportation provided last fall, the PAC, after conferring with tree experts, had recommended against trees last December on the basis that as they grew, their roots would buckle the sidewalk. A lively discussion arose between the committee and audience members who wanted to see trees, and those who felt that trees would likely damage the new brick sidewalks relatively quickly.

Selectman Bob Blagden said the trees were “small potatoes” and if the board were to go to bat, it should be on the issue of the parking lot at the former Haggett building. He said trees could be added later, or grown in planter boxes at any time.

Committee member Seaver Leslie countered, all the issues were important, and said if he hadn’t contacted the lighting companies himself, the town would be stuck with the 16-foot tall lamps MDOT offered after the survey results clearly showed a public preference for smaller fixtures like the ones in downtown Bath.

Judy Flanagan was concerned the issues had become personal, against Project Manager Ernie Martin, and said the town had yet to come together to try to make the most of the new amenities.

Maloney said that the trees were not on the agenda, and agreed the trees, if planted in the ground, would damage the sidewalks, which is why the committee made the recommendation in the first place. “Ultimately it is up to the selectmen whether there will be trees or no,” he said, telling those in attendance to bring up the issue, or ask that selectmen in attendance put the issue on the agenda, at the next selectmen’s meeting.

The PAC meets next at 5 p.m. July 23.