2016-11-18 / Community

News Briefs

Arundel has new possibility for town hall

The game of musical chairs that has been the search for a new town hall site in Arundel now has a new seat in play.

At the Nov. 14 selectmen’s meeting, board Chairman Velma Hayes said the heirs of Marilyn Young have approached the town about selling their property, located in two lots across from Mountain Road and Limerick Road from the current town hall and fire station.

“When we first started this process years ago, that property was actually our number one choice, but she did not want to sell to the town,” Hayes said. The years-long search for a new town hall home has recently seemed to settle on a different Limerick Road site, which emerged as a favorite over two potential locations on Route 1. However, Hayes said the Young heirs are currently having their property appraised in order to open negotiations. Hayes said she hopes to have more information at the Dec. 12 selectmen’s meeting.

Meanwhile, Selectman Thomas Danylik said he has been approached by members of the Kennebunk Conservation Trust, who have expressed interest in working with the town to buy and preserve a large parcel of land around any new town hall. Both Limerick Road sides are reported to have access to both the Eastern Trail and the Kennebunk River.

According to Arundel resident Sam Hull, he and several others have been in talks of working on a similar partnership with the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust. KCT education Director Leia Lowery said at the Nov. 14 meeting that her board of directors was scheduled to debate its potential involvement at their Nov. 17 session.

Old cruiser to become town property

Now that Arundel’s contracted deputy from the York County Sheriff’s Office has a new ride, a 2017 Ford Interceptor SUV purchased by the town for $33,752, his previous cruiser will become town property, just as soon as the sheriff’s office removes all of its equipment from the vehicle.

According to Velma Hayes, chairman of the board of selectmen, it will be used for tooling around town by the planning and code enforcement offices. However, discussion of the topic at the Nov. 14 board meeting was preceded by an agenda adjustment, one that proves a love of good grammar is alive and well in Arundel. Frequent audience member Jack Reetz suggested Sheriff William King Jr. would be much happier if selectmen debated the “sheriff’s old cruiser,” rather than the “old sheriff’s cruiser.” The agenda was duly amended. Meanwhile, another audience member, John Bell, cracked wise about the new cruiser. Because the town paid for it, and it will be used almost exclusively for patrols in Arundel, selectmen insisted the town name appear on the vehicle. “It went by me kind of fast, but it looked like it said ‘Arundel Sheriff.’” Bell said. “I wonder, when did we become our own county?”

Arundel considering official Facebook page

Arundel selectmen are considering two changes to the way they interact with residents.

At the Nov. 14 board meeting, Linda Zuke, a member of the economic development committee who maintains its Facebook page, suggested rebranding it as an official town of Arundel page.

Although the town does have a webpage, social media (i.e., Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram) is where the action is at.

“That’s what you have to do if you want to reach anyone under 30,” agreed Leia Lowery, from the audience.

Although at the other end of the demographic spectrum, selectboard chairman Velma Hayes agreed. “I’m on Facebook two or three times a day, just checking what’s going on,” she said.

Meanwhile, John Bell reported on recent talks with Town Manager Keith Trefethen and Kevin Crowley, principal at the Mildred L. Day Elementary School, where selectboard meetings are currently held.

There has been talk of hard wiring a camera system into the school library, Bell said, which could be used to record selectboard meetings.

In addition to replacing the video camera now used, which is aging and provides poor sound quality, the system could be used to stream meetings live over the internet, Bell said. However, live broadcasting and archiving could cost more than $5,000 per year, he said. Although selectmen liked the live stream idea, and considered several options for airing meetings online, some voiced trepidation over the cost, especially when Bell noted that the meeting current videos saved to You- Tube draw, at most, 35 views. “And there’s no way to tell if that’s people watching the whole thing, or just a couple of minutes,” Bell said. “I don’t know. Do we really want to spend that much to reach that number of people?” Selectman Thomas Danylik asked. His peers did not provide and answer, but agreed to discuss the issue in more depth at their Dec. 12 meeting.

New library open at Mildred L. Day School

The new library at Mildred L. Day Elementary School opened to students on Monday, as did the new main entrance, gymnasium, and science labs.

According to Superintendent Katie Hawes, once teachers and students are fully moved into the new building classrooms, construction crews will begin demolishing the old wings. Work is expected to be finished over the winter, with community tours and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to come in January.

Work continues on Kennebunk High School with an eye to a 2018 end-date. Hawes said a ceremony will be held with students when the final steel beam is hung connecting the new wings to the original building, allowing them to sign their names to the support structure. Finally, work on Kennebunkport Consolidated School is very nearly complete.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is slated for 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, following community tours available from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1. Formal invitations will be mailed to each home in town, Hawes said.

Compiled by Staff Writer Wm. Duke Harrington. He can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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