KINGFIELD — With a 2016 bicentennial anniversary approaching, the town’s Village Enhancement Committee presented an ambitious concept plan for several community improvement projects.

On Monday night, the panel chaired by Cynthia Orcutt presented selectmen with an large-scale architectural rendering of six proposals that would improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety, develop recreation areas, and encourage a more business-friendly atmosphere.

“We want people to look at what we have done and see this as a way to think about the Kingfield in the future,” she said. “This does not represent a final plan, but it is something that will get people interested, and we will get more ideas as we move forward.”

More year-round traffic, including logging trucks and Sugarloaf visitors, has contributed to safety concerns in the village area. In 2004, the town hired Gorrill-Palmer Consulting Engineers to provide a traffic study to alleviate congestion and improve safety. The Maine Department of Transportation also plans to do roadwork on Route 27, and this could include changes at the intersection of Depot and Main streets.

“I’ve talked to Mark Hume from the DOT, and he’ll come up and meet with us and with landowners two years before the rebuild construction starts,” Administrative Assistant Douglas Marble said.

Orcutt also suggested incorporating a midtown village green and gazebo for performances, as well as improved street lighting, sidewalks and parking for ATVs. Additionally, the town could develop a riverfront park for sitting, walking and recreation.

“We know the underlying concept is that we do not lose parking, but existing parking could be reconfigured to allow more green space,” she said. “We could make a safer way to get down to the river and also accommodate those who want to do some fishing.”

The Village Enhancement Committee outlined two historic walking trails, the Stanley and the Village loops, on the east and west sides of the town. The final component could include the purchase and renovation of the Knapp Bros. auto dealership property next to the Webster Public Library.

“We could think about a community center or library expansion, a fitness center, senior housing, or for adding some public parking,” she said.

The improvements would be limited to predefined tax increment financing boundaries from the tax-sheltering plan for the Poland Spring water bottling plant. It would include the northern end of town at the Woodsman Restaurant to Soldier’s Hill ridge at the southern end of town. Other boundaries include Maple and Riverside streets as far as the Kingfield Elementary School on Route 142.

“Where’s the money for this going to come from?” Selectman Neal McCurdy asked. “I just see changing this intersection will be an astronomical cost.”

The town and Nestle Waters North America, parent of Poland Spring Water Co., entered the TIF, and the town is allowed to retain and spend tax revenue for state-approved municipal improvements and economic development.

“I don’t see that much money in our TIF account,” McCurdy said. “We use that to pay our other expenses as we go, and so we only gain a small amount of money.”

The committee, Orcutt stressed, will be asking only for approval to continue its efforts, which could include applying for state and federal grants in February. The group will provide a full-sized map at the town office. The special town meeting Jan. 24 starts at 6 p. m., and Orcutt will have drawings available before the meeting starts.


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