Alna selectmen

Thoughts diverge, may merge over road’s care

Town pursues playground, trail; eyes Wiffle ball field
Thu, 09/05/2019 - 8:45am

It’s frustrating, Alna Second Selectman Doug Baston said. Some Sand Building Road landowners said the town’s care should reflect its use of the road. But he said the road to the salt and sand shed is a private road and the town can’t chip in more than its one-sixth share under an easement.

That’s the law, Baston told residents and officials Sept. 4 in the latest round of talks that date to last May. Resident Jeff Spinney agreed and recommended the landowners take the one-sixth offer. He said if the town fixes a private culvert at landowners’ request, he’ll ask the town to work on roads he owns.

“You have an opinion ... but the law is the law,” Spinney told landowners.

In new letters to the board and in the discussion, landowners argued for the town’s help to reflect its use.  “I feel there should be a fairer ratio,” Deb Brown said. 

Megan Taft and Sara Cawthon wrote, “We feel a fair solution would be one where the town is proportionately responsible for their use ... which includes access for all Alna residents, sand plows and large sand delivery trucks.”

Former selectman Ed Pentaleri argued the board should show the road’s residents the same equity he said selectmen sought from Wiscasset over the transfer station’s funding formula. “You guys, you’re thoughtful, you try to be equitable with people, and this is clearly not an equitable situation.”

Road Commissioner Jeff Verney added his ideas on drainage. Selectmen said for Verney and the landowners to meet at the road, come up with a plan and get back to the board. 

“Sorry for the frustration,” Baston told landowners. “It’s frustrating all the way around.”

Wiffle ball pitch

Resident Paul Crandall and Recreation Committee member Anne Simpson pitched a Wiffle ball field for the town office. Wiffle ball needs less space than baseball and softball and more people can play it, Simpson explained.

“And Wiffle balls don’t break windows,” resident Beth Whitney said. Crandall said Wiffle ball takes about a quarter acre and there are kits for Wiffle ball fields. They can even look like a miniature Fenway Park, he said.

They and selectmen discussed possible grants. Crandall said he once raised $5 million in 12 hours. “That’d make your Fenway Park,” Pentaleri said, smiling back toward Crandall, seated behind him.

Also Sept. 4, selectmen announced Maine Community Foundation is giving the town $10,500 from the Belvedere Historical Preservation Fund toward work at the Village School at Puddle Dock. And First Selectman Melissa Spinney has asked the Stephen King Foundation for $14,300 for the playground and trail selectmen have eyed.

The sale of the old town office will close the week of Sept. 9, Spinney said. She said she let buyers Alton King III and Jean Bradford move in for the start of school because they have homeowners insurance.

Crandall predicted the family would enjoy having a Wiffle ball field next door.

Selectmen meet next at 6 p.m. Sept. 18 at the town office.