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Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 17, 2014
Board eyes safety at former Brooklin ballfield

by Rich Hewitt

The Brooklin Selectmen will seek estimates on removing the bleachers and dugouts at the former Reggie Sherman Field, but don’t plan to move forward with removal until the issue is brought to a special town meeting.

The field has been unused since the new school was built and most athletic activities were moved to the school fields. Even the formal name, which honored a town resident, was transferred to the school field, said selectmen at their July 8 meeting.

However, with the field now being used regularly by a group of dog walkers, they raised concerns about safety at the field.

Lori Gallo said she had visited the field and found some problems with the fencing and the field itself, but the real concerns came from the structures that were left over from previous ball games.

“There are holes in the dugout roof and the bleachers are in bad shape,” she said. “If it’s going to be used, the town ought to figure out what to do with it. We’re getting unsafe conditions up there.”

If the conditions are unsafe, Deborah Brewster said, the ball park could be a liability for the town.

Chairman Albie Smith suggested hiring someone to come in with a backhoe and remove the dugouts and bleachers. Gallo, however, said she would hate to see them simply torn down and wondered if there might not be some effort to rebuild or repair them.

Brewster also cautioned against moving ahead with demolition and suggested that the issue be added to the warrant for a special town meeting.

The board agreed to obtain an estimate for the removal of the dugouts and bleachers and to present that to voters at a special town meeting. The board has several other items slated to go to a special town meeting, but no date has been set for that session.

The discussion of the ball park began with concerns from dog walkers that items they had left at the park had been stolen. Smith said it was likely that the items had been included in the Fourth of July trash monument that was erected in the middle of town during the night before the Fourth. If that’s the case, he said, the items were probably removed with the rest of the trash and taken to the dump.

Brewster noted that the board’s letter to the dog walkers, which had set specific times when they could let the dogs run in the park, included the stipulation that nothing should be left at the park when they were done.

“It’s not a town issue,” she said.

The board is currently negotiating with Maine Coast Heritage Trust for the use of a portion of town-owned land on Harriman Point. The trust is poised to acquire a large parcel on the point and wants to use the town land as a parking area for that property. According to Brewster, the town’s parcel is about 11 acres and the talks are for the trust to use about one-third of an acre of that property.

The board has accepted a bid from Lane Construction to complete the paving on River Road. Lane offered to complete the project for $89,560. The paving will begin where work left off last year and continue to the four corners.

The board is also working to ensure that new state standards for the maintenance of veterans’ graves are followed at the cemeteries in town. Three of the town cemeteries are located on private land and most others are maintained by cemetery associations. According to Smith, the town will maintain the veterans’ graves in cemeteries on private property, or the property owners can choose to maintain them. The property owners and the cemetery associations must follow the same state standards, he said. Under the new law, the town has the right to inspect the sites on private property to ensure that the new standards are being followed.

Ellery Bane, the representative from RJD Appraisals, will be in town on July 30. There are still some openings available for property owners wishing to discuss their property with Bane. For an appointment, contact the selectmen.