BREWER, Maine — The plan for a 10.5-acre city-owned plot of land that sits in the center of Sherwood Forest was for neighbors to make it into a park with a meandering walking trail.
The problem is that the “grass-roots” plan never took shape and the property, located between Little John Lane and Rotherdale and Canterbury roads, remains untouched, City Councilor Larry Doughty said at the March council meeting.
“There has been nothing done in there,” he said.
The parcel originally was set aside by the subdivision developer years ago for a future school, and eventually became the property of the city. City officials designated it as a park in 2005.
Ken Hanscom, director of the Brewer Parks and Recreation Department, made a presentation about the site at the February 2006 planning board meeting, saying it would be “a small nature trail, a walking trail” built by neighbors. The trail head and main access point is located off Little John Lane and marked by a sign.
Hanscom told councilors at their March 23 meeting that Sargent Corp. donated the use of a skidder and provided some gravel in 2009 to improve the park’s access point, but little else has been done.
“To call that a city park is kind of an insult,” Doughty said.
He asked the council to explore selling the land, a motion that was defeated 3-2.
Councilor Jerry Goss, who owns one of the 19 homes that abut the property in question, said, “Before you take that step you need to hear from that neighborhood group.”
Mayor Joseph Ferris agreed, saying, “We ought to give the neighborhood a chance to speak.”
City leaders said they wanted to hear from the folks who proposed the trail five years ago, but did not set a date for any update.
Canterbury Road resident Chuck Thompson told councilors he walked through the park three or four times last summer and said it has tree trunks and roots sticking up throughout.
He said he’s ready for something to be done with the land after years of inactivity.
“This could be an opportunity to have a real park,” he said.