ELLSWORTH, Maine — With one year left in his first term, Councilor Michael Boucher has submitted his resignation to the Ellsworth City Council.
In a letter to councilors, Boucher cites personal reasons for his impending departure from municipal politics. He and his daughter are moving to western Maine, he said, where he has accepted a position as a police officer.
“I need to focus on raising my daughter and reorganizing my life before I am able to serve the people effectively again,” he said. “This has not been an easy decision and I have put many hours of thought into it.”
Boucher give an effective resignation date of Dec. 1. The City Council will consider his resignation at its Dec. 17 meeting, said Council Chairman Gary Fortier at the November meeting Monday.
The departing councilor served the bulk of his term alongside his brother, former councilor Matthew Boucher, whose seat was declared vacant in August after he moved to New Hampshire to take a job with T.J. Maxx there.
Michael Boucher, who until recently was a police officer in Winter Harbor, was elected in November 2010. His seat will remain vacant until June, when Ellsworth residents go to the polls to vote on the annual school budget.
At that time, they’ll elect a new councilor to fill out the remaining six month’s of Boucher’s term, said City Clerk Heidi Grindle. Efforts to contact Boucher for comment were unsuccessful, as his listed phone number has been disconnected.
Councilors also received an update Monday on the ongoing work to design a new park at the former site of the Knowlton School on State Street.
Landscape Architect Victor Rydlizky laid out the plans for the councilors, who offered no comment.
“I think we have a great design,” Rydlizky said. “It’s got many pieces and activities that will be used by many different people in many seasons.”
The park, according to the design sketches, will feature a large open green space; a central area with a pavillion, water fountain and tables and chairs; a restroom facility; an amphitheater built to seat 300-400 people; and the addition of a “splash pad” at the existing playground.
Rydlizky said the park could become a signature landmark for Ellsworth, as iconic as the library or City Hall.
The park also will make the city more attractive to people looking to move or open a business, said Martha Dudman of the fundraising consulting firm Gary Friedman and Associates, which the city has contracted to work on raising money for the park.
Dudman said her firm was working with a fundraising committee to identify potential donors, assemble marketing materials and identify potential naming-rights opportunities for the future Knowlton Park.
“It’s not only going to enhance the quality of the lives of the people that live here, but it will also be an important economic boon for your city, making Ellsworth a more attractive place to live, work and do business,” she said.
In other business, councilors approved a waiver for street paving on a planned two-mile road that would service a proposed 14-unit subdivision on the shore of Green Lake.
The developer, Roy Allen Jr. of Allen’s Blueberry Freezer, sought to see standards waived for paving and road width, requesting the council allow for a constructed gravel road 18 feet wide, instead of a 20-foot wide paved road.
Fire Chief Richard Tupper made a case against allowing Allen to develop a narrower road, saying it could create problems for emergency vehicles.
“When you reduce the width of the road — paved or not — we’re really impacting the stability of the shoulder of the road,” he said. “If we’re trying to squeeze two trucks by each other, the potential for one to get stuck on the side or, heaven forbid, go over, that worries me.”
In exchange for the waiver, the council made Allen agree to put language in the property deeds alerting potential buyers that the access road would not ever belong to the city, or be maintained by municipal crews.
“I’ve been on the council since the ’80s and substandard roads are something we’ve dealt with time and time again, and they’ve been nothing but headaches,” said Councilor Stephen Beathem.
The waiver was approved 4-2, with Boucher absent and Beathem and Pamela Perkins voting against the waiver.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.