Woolwich selectmen to acknowledge Native Americans

Tue, 09/20/2022 - 8:45am

    A statement acknowledging Native Americans will become a permanent part of Woolwich’s annual town report. Pat Lewis of Barley Neck Road suggested the select board pass a resolution recognizing Native Americans on Indigenous Peoples Day, Monday, Oct. 10.

    “I want to acknowledge that Native people lived in this very neighborhood 10,000 years ago,” she wrote in a Sept. 5 email to Selectman Allison Hepler. “We all have some reason to respect the Indigenous people, especially on their holiday …”

    Hepler told the board Monday the resolution might read, “We remind ourselves that the spot which we meet is part of the ancestral Nequasset region of the Wabanaki. Our Woolwich history includes all those who have lived in this area, including the first people harvesting alewives at Nequasset Falls 10,000 years ago. We honor the Indigenous peoples for their deep connection they have always felt to Mother Earth…”

    Rather than pass a resolution, Chairman David King Sr. suggested including a statement recognizing Native Americans within the town report. “I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t just make this a part of it.”

    In other business, the board will meet at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22 to set the tax rate, which means property tax bills will soon be in the mail.

    Three candidates are seeking two, three-year terms on the board. Opal Keith, town clerk and registrar of voters, stated in an email to Wiscasset Newspaper, Dale Chadbourne, Thomas B. Davis and Allen Greene all returned nomination papers and qualified to be on the ballot of the General Election to be held Tuesday, Nov. 8. Chadbourne and Greene are incumbents; Davis chairs the communications committee and is a trustee of Patten Free Library in Bath. Chadbourne and Greene’s terms expire Dec. 31.

    Voting will be at Woolwich Central School on Nequasset Road from 8 to 8.

    Keith further noted, the town office would begin mailing out absentee ballots on Oct. 8; they’d also be available at the town office. Applications for absentee ballots are also available online: (https://apps.web.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/index.pl). For more information, contact Keith at 207-442-7094 during town office business hours.

    Nequasset Park ADA improvements

    Improvements will begin at Nequasset Park that include making its swimming area more Americans with Disabilities Act accessible. “The materials have been delivered and it’s now up to the contractor when to start,” Selectman Jason Shaw said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. Bedard Excavation of South Paris was hired to do the work having submitted a low bid of $25,000. Shaw said the project will be paid for in part by a matching grant of $15,000 from the Submerged Lands Program of Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands. The select board had previously asked for and was granted an extension for use of the grant monies. “The bid states the work there can begin on or after Sept. 6 and is to be completed by Oct. 15, 2022,” added Shaw.

    The project designed by Pine Tree Engineering of Bath includes a paved walkway and extending pre-cast concrete steps further into the water to improve ADA swimming access. Another improvement involves adding a concrete abutment similar to the one at the boat ramp. Shaw said the abutment would eventually be used for new swimming floats to be bought when more funds become available.

    “We’ve talked too about replacing the sign at the park entrance,” continued Shaw. “We’ve asked and are hoping we might get an ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) contribution towards the project from the Sagadahoc County commissioners.”

    Nequasset Park will celebrate its 27th anniversary this year. Shaw, who served as project manager, said it was constructed in 1995 by Jack Shaw & Sons of Woolwich.