2015-03-27 / Letters

Reader embraces Martin’s Point, wants green space maintained

To the editor:

I am a customer of the local Martin’s Point health care facility and have nothing but praise for their operation. I can understand their need for a new location, and I think Martin’s Point would be a good neighbor. It’s a business with a social and environmental conscience and seems truly concerned about its impact on the community.

It’s too bad that the site plan presented at the South Portland City council meeting on March 9 depicted the largest possible scale. The 17,000-square-foot structure with 85 parking spaces horrified residents of this neighborhood, who made their reaction clear. Most distressing is the disappearance of Hamlin field and relocation of the community gardens to the hillside facing Parrott Street, where eight more parking spaces would be created.

I’ve lived at 824 Sawyer St. for 20 years. I can see Hamlin field and community gardens from my kitchen window. I can’t imagine seeing them paved over. The field has always been a focal point of the neighborhood, busy with T-ball games, golf practice, kids playing baseball, football, basketball, or Frisbee and dog walkers. Since the community gardens went in, that patch of green has become even more special.

I watch gardeners of all ages tend their beds. People walking or biking down Sawyer Street stop to admire the plots and chat about them. The three dedicated Harvest for Hunger beds have provided more than a ton of fresh, organic produce to South Portland Food Cupboard in three years. The gardens are a South Portland showcase and a wonderful experience for all concerned. I hope the gardens and green area beyond them will be a part of our neighborhood forever.

I’d welcome an attractive, nicely landscaped facility in place of the obsolete school and outbuilding. I’d like to see the broken-down chain link fence on my street replaced with one that would allow easier access to the gardens and field. I think development that respects and enhances the historic use of the Hamlin green area would be a great asset to our neighborhood.

I’m hoping Martin’s Point will present us with a workable compromise in which we’ll all win.

Linda Skinner
South Portland

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