2014-04-25 / Community

Review board OKs plans for pavilion

Facility would host ice skating, farmers market and town activities
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — The Site Plan Review Board approved building plans for the proposed Waterhouse Center Pavilion at its Thursday, April 17 meeting.

The pavilion, which includes an ice skating surface would be located at 51 Main Street in downtown Kennebunk.

Plans for a pavilion and ice rink stem from a $1.5 million endowment that longtime Kennebunk resident Geraldine Waterhouse donated to the town in September of last year. The purpose of the endowment is to fund children’s and youth activities in the pavilion, which is being largely constructed on privately-donated funds.

“This is the proposed construction of a 10,954 square foot covered open-air pavilion for ice skating, farmers market and other town activities,” said Judy Bernstein, town planner.

The structure, which takes up two lots, is more than twice as large as the former gas pumps and building that used to occupy the property, said Robert Metcalf, planning board member and principal designer at the landscape architectural and planning firm, Mitchell & Associates.

A public forum followed the site plan presentation.

“Are the restrooms going to be open year round because the buildings are open year round? Or are the restrooms only going to be open when there are functions or ice time? I’m just a little concerned with security and vandalism and stuff happening downtown,” said Eric Peterson, owner of the Village Green Condominium Association.

Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said the restrooms will be open year-round, but operate only during the day so as to prevent questionable behavior.

“They would be on a lock system, similar to the door system we have at the town hall,” Tibbetts said.

For other security purposes, Tibbetts said, “There actually will be some cameras in the building and we will be able to monitor (behavior) from a few different perspectives.”

Peterson referenced the likelihood of heightened noise levels in what is becoming an increasingly more residential part of town: “How do you control noise levels? I know the decibel level for downtown businesses is pretty generous and allows for stuff to happen,” he said, “but obviously directly abutting what is becoming more and more residential? What happens if there’s theoretically something like a concert? Is there a time at which things aren’t going to be happening past?”

Most of the events that will be held at the pavilion, Tibbetts said, would likely be during the day.

Specifics were not discussed.

“I don’t know if I can tell you exactly when functions would end,” Tibbetts aid. “What I can tell you is that the whole premise of why this was built was that it would be youth and family. So, I’m thinking that in terms of youth and family activities, you’re not going to have kids staying out exceptionally late.

“I think it’s reasonable to assume that the hours of operation would most likely end earlier. Would you see events that might go until 11 p.m.? Perhaps. But would you go to midnight and 1 a.m.? Probably never.”

Another concern raised by Peterson was physical security on the premises and how it will be enforced.

“Who is ultimately going to be responsible for security and just overseeing this? The Rec Department? The Police Department? Town hall?”

“I think it could be a combination of all those different ones based on the kind of event that’s there,” Tibbetts said.

The Board of Selectmen will be establishing rules and guidelines for the facility in the coming weeks, Tibbetts said.

Funding for the project is still underway. The Board of Selectmen met earlier this week to vote on remaining issues with the facility after the Post deadline.

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