TURNER — The Board of Selectmen narrowly approved setting aside $60,000 toward the excavation, drainage, curbing and paving of a new sidewalk Monday night.
The sidewalk will connect Turner Center Road to the new North Parish Road Bridge. The Maine Department of Transportation will rebuild the bridge, which includes widening the structure.
Board Chairman Kurt Youland said, in support of the measure, “I think we would be short-sighted not to (approve).” Voting yes were Youland, Angelo Terreri and Warren Hood. Selectmen Kevin Nichols and Steve Maheu voted no.
According to Town Manager Kurt Schaub, the town will have three years to pay for the project.
In other business:
Selectmen discussed but did not make a decision on whether to add security cameras and motion-sensor lights to the area in front of the new Bicentennial Bell. The original 24-inch, 350-pound bronze bell was stolen in 2012.
Members of the Highway Department have mounted the new bell atop granite posts in front of the Old Town House on Route 117. The building, which is adjacent to the historic First Universalist Church, was constructed in 1831. It was used to hold town meetings and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.
Selectman discussed plans to landscape the area in front of the bell with a matching granite enclosure filled with flowers or shrubs to finish the project.
Schaub encouraged selectmen to hold the municipal election in 2018 on the same day as the SAD 52 budget validation referendum, which is set for May 18. The following day, Saturday, May 19, the town meeting would be held at Leavitt Area High School. Selectmen voted 4-0-1, with Maheu abstaining, to set the dates.
Schaub informed the board that Tom Perkins suggested reviewing the details of the Big Bear Lane construction project with lawyer Jamie Belleau before making any decisions. Selectmen voted unanimously to meet with Belleau, one selectman, the town manager and the chairman of the Planning Board.
Bob Harlow’s Big Bear Lane road improvement project has sparked controversy between Harlow and neighbors. Youland, who attended a public meeting on the matter Nov. 8, said all parties appear determined to stand firm against each other. Youland said he wished they all could see that if they do not work together to come to a compromise, “the only ones that stand to gain anything are the lawyers.”
Nichols told the board they should take advantage of social media to keep residents in the loop as most other towns have done.
Selectmen voted unanimously to create a Facebook page with Schaub as the administrator to keep people updated on town issues.