KINGFIELD — After a year of hard work and a list of accomplishments, the Kingfield Trailbuilders club convinced selectmen to give them a chance as a  formal committee.  

Club member and spokeswoman Polly McMichael explained to selectmen at Monday night’s meeting that the group is in a sort of limbo. Although organized nearly three years ago to develop a network of biking trails in the region, it is not a formal, nonprofit organization. 

Last year, selectmen gave it access to a section of the town’s public land, and members have been clearing brush and creating a trail starting at Stanley Avenue, near the ATV trail. Although the club’s trails are for nonmotorized, recreational activities, they cross other trails used by snowmobiles and ATVs.

McMichael referenced the town’s Comprehensive Plan and said the club could play in economic development. The interest in recreational biking is booming.

“The bike thing is coming our way,” said Selectman Wade Brown. “It’s already in (Carrabassett Valley), and it seems like there are new trails being added every day.”

At first, selectmen were cool to the the addition of another committee under the municipality’s umbrella.

“Can we have a trial period for a committee?” asked Selectman Walter Kilbreth. 

Administrative assistant Leanna Targett said selectmen could do whatever they chose.  

Targett said that the Trails Club would have to have a budget and have expenditures approved. Audience member Charlie Woodworth said he is on the Carrabassett Valley Trails Committee, and he has seen little extra work created for selectmen. The committee develops a yearly plan and reports on their activities. Brian Hatfield asked about the town’s liability options.  

Selectmen agreed to recognize the group as a formal Kingfield committee.  

Next, Village Enhancement Committee member Lisa Standish spoke about her observations over the past seven years of the committee’s work. 

“I watched for seven years of leadership coming and going,” she said.

She was a member of the original 2010 group tasked by townspeople with developing plans that would build the economy and a stronger community.

Town money had gone to fund engineering plans for projects that the townspeople then declined to approve. She suggested that the VEC could take a different path.  

She noted that demographics appear to fall into three groups. The locals come from larger families which have lived in the area for generations. The “Sugarloafers” comprise the second group. They have been in town for the past 30 to 40 years, as the resort developed and became a more popular recreational destination.

“They came as tourists and stayed to settle down,” she said.

The third group has come to Kingfield because of its affordable cost of living, many recreational and economic opportunities and is a good place to raise families.

“This population has positive energy, is tech savvy, embraces the outdoors and will help define much of the future direction of the town,” she said.

She owns a bed and breakfast, so she meets a wide range of visitors who come to the town for a variety of reasons. She said the residents need to gather together, regardless of differences, to encourage positive growth and mutual benefits for the town.   

In other matters, Selectman Wade Brown commented on the hard work and excellent care of the Public Works Department through the recent spate of storms and bad weather.  


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