2018-04-27 / Community

In the Know

TRAIL OPENS – The town of Cape Elizabeth Greenbelt Trails are now open to all users. Earlier in the month trails were open to only pedestrian traffic to allow surfaces to dry and avoid damage during the traditional wet spring season.

NEW SONG – According to their principal, students at Pond Cove School are singing a new song.

A new school song recently written by music teacher Rebecca Bean will soon be rehearsed in music classes, Pond Cove Principal Jason Manjourides told member of the school board at its meeting April 10.

“Our goal is to soon come together as an entire school and sing it together,” he said.

A school song is a tradition that many know and hold, Manjourides said, and is one indication of how Pond Cove in recent months is coming together as a school.

“I just think it’s really cool to see so many different community members from Pond Cove contributing to that feel of family, and Becky Bean is certainly making a big difference for us,” said Manjourides, who began as principal in September.

“I think this is going to be a song that is part of Pond Cove for years to come,” he said.

GREENHOUSE – A Cape Elizabeth High School biology teacher has proposed a project that would construct a greenhouse on school grounds that would serve as a living lab for students, as well as a year-round source of fresh food choices for school cafeterias.

Teacher Bill Brewington asked the school board April 10 for permission to begin exploring concept design for the project; to seek grants and begin fundraising from local businesses, individuals and organizations; to assemble an advisory board of interested community members; and to organize a botany club of high school students to help support the greenhouse from year to year.

“For several years, as a biology teacher, I have envisioned what the addition of such a facility could provide to enhance the life-science curriculum of not only the high school biology courses, but also the science experiences of students from the middle school and Pond Cove,” Brewington said. “My vision is for a substantial structure, built to last for years ... The greenhouse would use green technology and become as self-sustaining as possible.”

He sees uses for independent study and special education, and perhaps a botany/horticulture class similar to that offered at Portland Arts and Technology High School, the regional technical center that serves Cape Elizabeth and 17 other high schools.

Board members said they supported the idea, but would be ready to give Brewington more firm direction at a May 8.

“I’ve always been very admiring of the PATHS program and we wish that more people could access it,” said School Board Chairman Susana Measelle Hubbs. “I think if we could create something similar here that would be accessible to all grades that would be ideal.”

Once details of the project are in place, Brewington said he would seek a grant from the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation for partial funding. He would also pursue a way for tax-deductible donations to be deposited into a designated account for the project at the central office.

“There are obviously many moving parts to such an undertaking as this,” Brewington said. “Each conversation sparks ideas and enthusiasm for what a greenhouse could provide to our school community.”

He is looking to visit other schools and organizations that have greenhouses, gather more ideas for building and using one on the school campus, learn about greenhouse management and to provide leadership for the project, he said.

Responding to a question from a board member, Brewington said he envisioned the structure on school grounds rather than at one of Cape Elizabeth’s farms.

“Personally I would like to see it right at the high school so we could use it directly with our schools. Our onecampus setting allows students to come over from the middle school or Pond Cove pretty easily.”

He said he would like the greenhouse to look like, and be, a fully functional science lab for the school.

BANDSTAND – The Cape Elizabeth Town Council is considering a request from the Fort Williams Park Foundation to officially name a former military bandstand at Fort Williams Park the “Council Ring.”

The council on April 9 referred the request to the town’s Fort Williams Park Committee and will also seek input from the Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society.

The stone bandstand, sometimes known as the gazebo, has recently been referred to as the “Council Ring” as a focal point of the park arboretum’s Children’s Garden. The foundation, which provided funding and design for the garden, would like the landmark to have “Council Ring” as its formal name.

“As we were looking for funding for the Children’s Garden we started referring to it as the ‘council ring,’ which we felt had a more romantic connotation to it and more potential for fundraising,” said Fort Williams Park Foundation President Lynn Shaffer.

Shaffer said the name is meant to invoke visions of Viking or native American circles, of places where people gather in community.

The structure, according to the foundation’s request, was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps as a second bandstand for Fort Williams when it was a military installation.

Town Councilor Penny Jordan said that in researching the proposed name, it seemed appropriate for its evolving purpose.

“It really starts to denote almost a transformation of this space,” Jordan said. “I think if people started to understand ‘council ring’ it can really create a sense of community in this space,” she said.

Shaffer said it was never the foundation’s intent to name or rename the structure, but because it is a town facility, officials believe any change should go through proper procedures. Town policy lists names of other properties that have been approved by the town council.

“This is a town structure that predated the Children’s Garden. And so, this is something that needs to be approved by the council,” said council Chairman Jessica Sullivan.

She said the policy should probably be updated to consider names that do not involve individuals or groups, “but nevertheless it is a town-owned structure, (and) the town should approve any change in how it’s called or what it’s named.”

CROSSWALK – Safety for pedestrians crossing Route 77 at Shore Road will be the topic of a future workshop of the Cape Elizabeth Town Council.

Councilors on April 9 voted to refer to workshop an email from resident Laura Reddington, voicing concern about Pond Cove and Middle School students crossing the intersection to get to school.

“A few years ago the town built the well-loved path along Shore Road in an attempt to maximize the safety of pedestrians and enhance and promote Cape Elizabeth’s tradition as an active community,” according to Reddington’s email. “Having ridden a bicycle to school with my elementary-school age son and middle-school aged daughter many times last spring, I implore you to consider the lighted crosswalk at Shore and 77 as minimally to not effective for safety,” she said.

A solar-powered crossing light and walk just south of the intersection was approved in 2009 as part of the town’s ongoing efforts for pedestrian safety, but councilors acknowledged Reddington’s assessment that, because of the width of Route 77, cars behind those that stop for pedestrians tend to pass on the shoulder.

Town Manager Matthew Sturgis said that an additional traffic calming measure might be to paint warnings on the pavement, something that could be done before the beginning of the next school year. A longer-term solution might be to install sidewalk bumpouts at each end of the crosswalk, “cozying up” the distance and preventing vehicles from passing those that have stopped for pedestrians, he said.

Town Councilor Penny Jordan said the council has a responsibility for pedestrian safety, given the town’s commitment to having a walkable town center.

“We have an accountability to make sure people can cross roads safely,” she said, adding that she often sees school children crossing Route 77 where there is no crosswalk to get to Cumberland Farms. “If we are going to create a town center, then we need to own those issues and not deny that they exist,” she said.

– Compiled from public reports on the town of Cape Elizabeth website.

Return to top