The only question before the voters on the Town of Camden November Ballot is Article 2, asking to approve an “Order of Condemnation,” with “just compensation,” for 120 square feet at 225 Washington Street, for the purposes of sidewalk improvements.
The Camden–Rockport Pathways Committee endorses the approval of Article 2 because it reinforces the construction of sidewalks and pathways throughout town to ensure safe transit for pedestrians, a hallmark of healthy communities.
The sidewalk improvements that approval of Article 2 promotes will ensure that the young and old will be able to walk safely along Washington Street, especially to Shirttail Point, a popular town park and swimming spot. This half mile sidewalk extension has been on the Pathway Committee’s Master Plan since 2007.
The Town recognizes that a safe pedestrian way is needed to connect the nearby dense residential areas to the park, and the Pathways Committee agrees.
In 2010, Camden was awarded a Maine Dept. of Transportation Quality Community Programs for this sidewalk extension.
With ensuing surveys and engineering, sidewalk planners learned that the road’s right-of-way wanders, requiring agreements with four landowners whose property abuts Washington Street.
Three landowners worked out an agreement with the town; the fourth did not, disputing the financial compensation for approximately three feet of municipal encroachment as well as other accommodations Camden was willing to make.
When such a dispute arises, state statute requires voter approval for Camden to move forward with acquiring the property.
By voting yes on Article 2, Camden will finally be able to construct a sidewalk along Washington Street for the public to use for safe transit. It is a positive step for a town that cares about healthy communities and public safety.
Geoff Scott is Chair of the Camden-Rockport Pathways Committee