CAMDEN — Camden’s Select Board was advised by Town Manager Patricia Finnigan Tuesday evening, March 18, to attend a public forum this Thursday, March 20, on the future of the Camden-Rockport Middle School.
In a rare occurrence, the Select Board meeting, with its short agenda, lasted but one half hour. Despite the meeting’s brevity, held in the Washington Street Conference Room, board members discussed a wide range of topics, including Snow Bowl revenues, plans for improvements there, approved a variety of business licenses, and talked about middle school construction plans.
“It will be an important meeting at the middle school cafeteria,” she said. “Attending this meeting is important for citizens of Camden and Rockport. This is a straw poll and citizens can weigh in on the consultant renditions.”
The forum, scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m., concerns the future of the large, sprawling middle school campus on Knowlton Street. The Camden-Rockport School Board (School Administrative District 28) has been talking about the future of the physical buildings for the last decade, but now has renovation and/or demolition plans in hand. Architects with Oak Point Associates will be there to talk about the proposals.
Read more about the proposals: What to do with Camden-Rockport Middle School: Tear down, renovate, rebuild?
Topics under discussion March 20 will include:
A building history and current status of the middle school;
Reasons why renovation plans are being pursued at this time;
What design options are being considered; and,
Relative costs associated with each plan.
Child care will be available at the forum.
“Tearing down and building new doesn't sound that cheap,” said Camden Select Board member John French, at Tuesday’s meeting.
“It's cheaper than the other option,” said Finnigan. “There are a lot of factors to be considered.”
Snow Bowl wraps up fiscal season, begins long-anticipated improvements
Select Board member Jim Heard, who is the board’s liaison to the town’s Parks and Recreation Committee, reported that the town-owned Camden Snow Bowl is anticipating ending the season in the black by at least $10,000.
The Toboggan Nationals, held Feb.8 and 9, drew the largest crowd ever to the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area, and took in $40,000 in gross revenues, he said.
When applied to the Snow Bowl’s general account, that revenue helped overall winter operations, enabling the mountain to end the ski season with approximately $10,000 in the bank after all bills are paid.
We had a very good year,” said Heard.
Snow Bowl staff will be at this evening’s meeting of the Camden Planning Board to discuss the proposed site plan for scheduled improvements on the 231-acre Ragged Mountain land.
The $6.5 million project officially began Monday when forestry crews moved onto the mountain for timber harvesting.
Proposed work includes expanding and widening trails, adding two new lifts, creating a new tubing hill, relocating some utility buildings and constructing new ones, expanding snow-making capacity and installing new lighting.
The project also includes cutting 15 acres of hardwood, work that is now under way on the mountain.
Timber will be sold as logs or as biomass for paper mills, and the Snow Bowl is anticipating some revenue from that, although the amount has yet to be determined.
The project also requires permits from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (wetlands impact, stream crossing and stormwater runoff), as well as from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for wetlands fill.
Duck Derby and Camden Windjammer Festival
In other business, the Select Board approved a request from the West Bay Rotary to have access to and use the Megunticook River and upper Camden Harbor on Saturday, May 31, in order to hold its annual Duck Derby.
At p.m. that day 2,500 toy ducks will be dumped into the river in Camden. The first one to cross the finish line will win one person a week's stay at the Vanderbilt Beach Resort in Naples, Fla., and $1,000 cash. Tickets for ducks will go on sale for $5 each or 5 for $20 and there will be several other prizes. The derby is a fundraiser for the Rotary with proceeds to benefit local nonprofits/charities and Rotary International projects.
At the March 18 meeting, Board Chairman Martin Cates took a moment to recognize Karen Brace, who was taking minutes for the town at the meeting, for her 25 years of Rotary service, which had been noted earlier in the day at a Rotary meeting.
“How can that be,” asked board member French. “I always thought you were 22 or 23.”
And finally, the board approved a request from the Camden Windjammer Festival, a nonprofit, to close the Public Landing from 5 p.m., Aug. 28, through 4 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 31, for exhibits and activities related to the festival.
Editorial Director Lynda Clancy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 706-6657.