2018-03-23 / Community

Cape decides on Fort Williams vendor sites

By Ben Meiklejohn
Contributing Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH – A new food vendor will be at Fort William Park this year following a March 12 town council decision to create a 90-square-foot vendor site on the north side of Capt. Strout Circle.

According to Public Works Director Robert Malley, Site A, which was previously located at a 50-square-foot site on the south side of the circle, was moved to accommodate winning bidder Cousins Maine Lobster, a franchise food truck business. The truck will be stationed next to Site B, also 90 square feet, designated for Gorgeous Gelato.

Malley said Bite into Maine, a vendor that sells lobster rolls and sandwiches and was in the park last year, will continue selling food in the park at Site C, also 90 square feet, located at Channel Overlook. A fourth location, Site D at Ship Cove, is the only 50-square-foot vending site remaining, and a bid for it has not yet been finalized, Malley added.

The town accepts bid proposals for use of the sites, which are then approved administratively, Malley said. Bidders must offer a minimum of $2,000 for a 50-square-foot site and $4,000 for a 90-square-foot site. Cousins Maine Lobster bid $8,000 to vend in the park, Gorgeous Gelato bid $5,750 and Bite into Maine, $5,500.

Malley said the smaller sites are designed for a smaller food cart or wagon, but are often too small for the needs of most vendors. The town has permitted vendors in the park since 2011.

Last December, the Fort Williams Park Committee had recommended reducing the size of two sites, A and D, from 90 square feet to 50, to attract smaller vendor carts, but the council reversed that decision for Site A on March 12, reverting it back to a larger site and at a new location.

“It really wasn’t so much a traffic concern,” Malley said. “Aesthetically (the former Site A) didn’t feel right for a larger vehicle, which would block the view.”

After receiving the bid from Cousins Maine Lobster, Malley said it was clear that the vending truck would be too big for the former 50-square-foot Site A location on the south side of Capt. Strout Circle.

“It blends in better (on the north side),” he said.

Malley said Site D will continue to remain at 50 square feet because the park “wants to attract a smaller cart.”

Town Council Chairman Jessica Sullivan said with increasing use of Fort Williams Park over recent years, the presence of vendors improves the experience of park-goers. Sullivan said she didn’t know whether vendors contributed to more frequent return visits to the park, but visitors enjoy being able to get food on site.

“It allows them perhaps to enjoy the experience a little more, have a lobster roll or an ice cream,” Sullivan said. “It makes for a nice experience.”

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