2018-03-09 / Community

Cape Town Council workshops possible Robinson woods additions

By Allison New
Contributing Writer

Cape Elizabeth Town Manager Matthew Sturgis and Councilors Jessica Sullivan and Penelope Jordan discuss workshop items. (Allison New photo) Cape Elizabeth Town Manager Matthew Sturgis and Councilors Jessica Sullivan and Penelope Jordan discuss workshop items. (Allison New photo) CAPE ELIZABETH – The Cape Elizabeth Town Council held a workshop Monday, March 5 where they discussed a proposal from the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust with about the possible purchase of new land and expansion of the Robinson Woods Preserve.

The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust is requesting that the town provides one-third ($281,666) of the $845,000 purchase of 51.9 acres of land that is intended to be added to the existing Robinson Woods Preserve. This would increase the current acreage of 145 to 197 acres and increase the 3.3 miles of accessible trails to 5 miles. It would also open more access points to the trails in surrounding neighborhoods. Land trust board President, Elizabeth Goodspeed, included in her presentation that wildlife, pond views, watersheds and animal habitats would continue to be protected, and that land trust would be responsible for the stewardship of the property. The land trust would also be responsible for the maintenance and creation of new trails and bridges. Goodspeed also said that an expansion of the current preserve would increase access to the trails for aging and disabled visitors, as well as increased use for Cape Elizabeth schools.

The project has received a $250,000 grant from The State of Maine Land for Maine’s Future program and $8,000 from Casco Bay Estuary Partnership. The trust has also been guaranteed a promise from anonymous Cape Elizabeth Land Trust donors who have offered to match initial campaign gifts and any town contributions made toward the project. A community meeting will be planned for residents of neighborhoods where the proposed new access points to the trails will be added. At the meeting land trust officials will answer questions and concerns from neighborhood residents.

In other news, councilors discussed their responsibilities and those that belong to the Fort Williams Park Foundation. Fort Williams Park Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports and takes care of the Fort Williams Park property, with the exception of lawn mowing. Councilor Penelope Jordan praised the organization on how well the foundation has done its job by making the park a place the whole world wants to visit.

However, Fort Williams Park is a town property and there needs to be more clarity between the roles of what is expected from both parties, said Councilor Jessica Sullivan. The council and Fort Williams Park Foundation will continue to discuss what exactly those roles and responsibilities will be in a possible sub committee, which will meet at a later date.

The final item on the agenda Monday was the discussion and drafting a Fort Williams Park mission and vision statement. The draft reads, “The mission and vision of Fort Williams Park is to provide high quality passive recreational space for the citizens of Cape Elizabeth, to respect and maintain the park’s historic elements and natural beauty and manage the park through financial and physically sustainable practices.”

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