2018-01-12 / Front Page

Greenbelt Trail improvement on horizon

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH – The Conservation Committee, the town’s steward of the Greenbelt Trail System, would like to improve the system located on the eastern edge of the Cross Hill neighborhood north of Tiger Lily Lane and got the go-ahead from the town council Monday to start the process by having Town Manager Matt Sturgis submit a resource protection permit to the planning board. Such a permit is needed because there are wetlands on the proposed project site.

“In order to do anything in that area, an individual has to apply for a resource protection permit. This has been done in the past. It is a mechanical thing to go through, but they need the permit to do the work,” Sturgis told councilors at a Jan. 8 meeting.

The proposal would include constructing and laying up to 600 feet of boardwalks along the trail system.

“There have been existing trail in this area predating the construction of Cross Hill,” Town Planner Maureen O’Meara wrote in a Jan. 3 memorandum to the council. “Over time, portions of trails have become muddy. The conservation committee would like to add some boardwalk sections, as needed.”

According to the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, the Cross Hill trails cut “through open scrub and densely forested woods across varied terrain.” The trail, according to the trust, “has no dedicated central trailhead or parking, but access is available throughout the neighborhood at the Greenbelt trail signs.”

O’Meara said a local Eagle Scout has volunteered to take on the work as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Town Council Chairman Jessica Sullivan said other trail and bridge projects in town have been completed by Eagle Scouts in the past.

“These are wonderful projects for those kids,” she said.

The project costs, including permitting and construction, will be funded through the conservation committee budget. Sullivan said because the committee budget has already been approved, the council doesn’t need to approve the expenditure.

The project will now go before the planning board for its approval. The board will look at what, if any, environmental or natural resources impacts the project may have in determining whether it should be approved or not.

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at 282-4337, ext. 237.

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