AUBURN — A study that will look at balancing recreational uses at Mt. Apatite park with the Maine National Guard's Auburn training site kicks off Wednesday afternoon.
The federally-funded study will help create a master plan for the site, west of Garfield Road and north of Minot Avenue. The study will also look at road access, wetlands and potential site designs.
The eight-member policy committee will meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the guard's training facility on Mt. Apatite Road to plan the scope of work, a timeline and set a schedule for future meetings.
The area is currently home to the city's 344-acre Mt. Apatite Park recreation area, covered with gemstone quarries, summertime hiking trails and winter cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails. It's also home to the Auburn Suburban Little League's team fields.
The Maine National Guard operates its Auburn Training Site there 270 days each year, on 154 acres between the park and the Little League ball fields. Training activities there include small arms and small unit tactics, chemical and biological defense, navigation, combat skills, heavy equipment operation and combat engineer operations.
The soldiers and their equipment have to drive through the Little League parking area to reach the training site. Hikers and gem hunters have to walk through the guard's training site to reach the Mt. Apatite area.
The study is being paid with a $149,998 grant from the federal Office of Economic Adjustment.
Policy committee members are: Jeff Benson, representing Auburn Suburban Little League; Dana Little, representing the Androscoggin Land Trust and the Taylor Pond Association; Kevin Norcross, representing the Auburn Snow Gypsies; Mike Peters of Mac’s Grill; Philip Savignano representing the Auburn Recreation Committee; Auburn resident Frank Piffath; and Auburn resident and business owner Carol Segal.