KINGFIELD — Despite sub-zero temperatures, 113 voters came to a special town meeting to determine the fate of two contested issues.

The Quad Runners ATV Club had asked selectmen for permission to access trails on town-owned acreage along Route 27, near the Poland Spring bottling plant and the Carrabassett River. They also asked permission to cross Route 27 and Route 142 to connect to trail heads that are part of a western Maine ATV network, known as the Moose Loop.

Residents expressed concerns about policing and upkeep. Would the club members expect the town to contribute to costs of taking care of the trails? one resident asked.

“If they do ask, they will ask you, and not us,” board Chairman Heather Moody replied.

Others questioned the policing of those who violate laws.

“Who’s going to enforce (the rules)?” asked resident Tom Hildreth.

Moody said enforcement is done by Maine Department of Fisheries and Wildlife game wardens, by county and state police, and by selectmen, who could act on behalf of the landowners. The town is protected from liability for accidents on the trail, she said.

Voters asked what types of vehicles could be considered as ATVs, how trail maintenance would be handled, and if rights of way for pedestrians would be preserved. The statewide standard allows riders to be on the trails and roads one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise.

Headlights also must be operational, according to state law.

The article to allow ATVs to cross main roads to access trail heads passed, with 60 voting in favor and 53 voting against.

The article to let ATV riders access land along Route 27 and the Carrabassett River passed, with 62 voting in favor and 48 voting against.

When moderator William Gilmore announced the results, several in the audience left the meeting.

Quad Runners Club president David Trenholm and his wife, Crystal, were pleased with the outcome.

“Everyone has to follow the speed limits, no matter what type of vehicle they’re on, and we’re willing to help make sure everyone abides by the law,” David said.

All other articles, including payment of wastewater treatment plant debt and the allocation of $1,468 to run the free round-trip shuttle to Sugarloaf, passed with brief discussions.

The Village Enhancement Committee presented its proposals to improve downtown traffic flow and increase pedestrian safety with several new recreation areas.

“This is just the big picture,” Moody said. “We won’t vote on this tonight.”

Landscape architect Cynthia Orcutt has designed a mid-town village green, improved street lighting, sidewalks, and parking for ATVs. Additionally, the town could develop a riverfront park for sitting, walking and recreation.

The improvements would be limited the downtown area, from the Woodsman Restaurant to Soldier’s Hill ridge at the southern end of town, and from Maple and Riverside streets to Kingfield Elementary School on Route 142.

Funds could come from a tax increment financing agreement between the town and Nestle Waters. The town is allowed to retain and spend tax dollars for state-approved municipal improvements and economic development.


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