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Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee Notes

The City Council’s Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee met Tuesday, May 10, 2022. The following items were presented and discussed by Subcommittee members Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio, Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy and Councilor Becky Brink, along with City Manager Steven Buck and other City staff.

Pump Track: Kristen Cyr made a brief presentation on a proposed pump track that Cycle Sanford would like to install somewhere in town. A pump track is a mountain biking park or installation that takes advantage of natural terrain. It includes a series of bumps or berms, and sometimes manmade features such as bridges and ramps, to create a fun and healthy activity for kids and adults. Pump tracks are rapidly growing in popularity, and Maine currently has seven of them, although none are in York County. Cycle Sanford has put together a charter and plan of action, but wanted to gauge the City Council’s interest in the project before doing much more work.

Subcommittee members were very interested in the proposal and discussed various proposed locations, in particular on the Sanford-Springvale YMCA property. Mr. Buck cautioned that the snow dump area there, which some thought might be ideal, is the only DEP-permitted snow dump in Sanford so must be maintained for that purpose.

Cycle Sanford will do more research on existing pump tracks and possible designs, and report back with further information to help identify the best site.

Presidential Lane Extension: Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport Manager Allison Navia presented the scope of work for Phase 2 of the Presidential Lane extension at the Airport. The contract with Jamco Excavators is in the amount of $281,148. The Subcommittee approved forwarding it to the full City Council at next week’s meeting.

Helicopter Taxi Service: Ms. Navia presented an amendment to the operating rights agreement with Pine Tree Helicopters, to enable them to offer an on-demand 24/7  helicopter charter/taxi service. Once certified by the FAA, PTH will conduct the service with a single four-seat helicopter, with plans to expand to a second, larger helicopter in the future.

Taxiway Charlie: Ms. Navia said the reconstruction of Taxiway Charlie at the Airport will kick off on June 6. The project will be split into three phases over 65 days of construction, so that aircraft operations will not be interrupted.

Wind Symphony: Parks and Recreation Director Brady Lloyd presented a proposal from the School Department to host a wind symphony concert at Goodall Park on July 16, as part of a City-wide arts day. The stage will be located over the second base area, and plans are in place to protect the turf. If it rains, the performance will be moved to the Sanford Performing Arts Center. The Subcommittee approved the event.

The conversation then turned to problems with the concession stand at Goodall Park, which was built in a poor location facing directly into the sun, turning it into an oven on sunny days. Ms. Herlihy said last year, one of the volunteers passed out from the heat and broke an ankle. There was general consensus to start planning for a better concession stand that could also include a kitchen. In the meantime, food trucks can be utilized, but the process for permitting them may need to be streamlined and made more affordable to encourage them to come.

Picnic Tables: Mr. Lloyd presented a quote for three picnic tables for Central Park, at $16,396 plus the cost of concrete slabs, which would bring the total closer to $18,000. The tables will have individual seats rather than benches. Two of them will seat six people, while the third will have three seats and an opening to accommodate a wheelchair. While a reconstruction of Central Park is being planned for some time in the future, that is likely to be several years away. Mr. Buck said that the slabs can be moved at that time, if necessary. Subcommittee members approved the tables, but suggested Parks and Recreation apply to the William Oscar Emery Trust for the funding. The exact locations for the tables haven’t been determined yet, but it was recommended to try to avoid impacting operations of the Farmers’ Market.

Independence Day: Mr. Lloyd announced that the Independence Day activities will include a block party at Number One Pond on Sunday, July 3, with a water ski show and food, craft and nonprofit vendors, followed by fireworks after dark; and a parade down Main St. at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 4, from Malcolm Ave. to Gowen Park. Vendors and parade participants can find registration forms on the Parks & Rec website here, and paper registration forms are available at the Rec office in City Hall.

Urgent Paving: Public Works Director Matt Hill reported that because his department is shorthanded by seven employees, money that would have gone to pay their salaries and benefits for the past year is being reallocated to pave streets that need urgent attention. He emphasized that the paving would be a light, flexible asphalt that will fill cracks and potholes but isn’t a long-lasting solution. The areas that may be paved include School St. from Washington to Rushton, both ends of Rushton but not the middle, High St. from Washington to North, Pioneer from Washington to Emery, the lower end of Hanson Ridge Rd. and Beulah St. Subcommittee members requested that Barbara St. also be added to the list. He noted that Maine DOT will be repaving Route 109 from the roundabout south this month.

Five Year Plan: Mr. Hill said the big escalation in the cost of labor and materials this year has turned his five-year roadwork plan upside down, and caused him to rethink the Department’s priorities. The federal RAISE grant, which the City has applied for to fund $25M worth of road construction projects, had added to the uncertainty. He has developed two schedules depending on whether the grant is approved or not (the City should be notified by September). The Roadway Moratorium List, which provides some scheduling information, is on the City website but is not very user-friendly for the layperson. Communications Coordinator Jordan Wilson has been tasked with coming up with a document that is easier for the public to understand.

South Sanford: Councilor Brink asked if anything could be done about the state of the roundabout in South Sanford, which is an unattractive welcome for visitors coming into that end of town. Mr. Lloyd said the Rotary Club put some funds into it but the plants died during a drought. Mr. Hill said DOT has strict rules about what can be planted in a roundabout. He will look into getting a hardscape plan that will improve the visual appearance while being easy to maintain. Ms. Herlihy also asked if the Welcome to Sanford sign coming from Wells could be checked for condition and maintenance, as she got a negative comment about it.

Paper Street: A property owner on Pierce Ave. has requested the City pave the “paper street” next to his property, or discontinue it and split the lot between him and the abutter on the other side. A paper street is a lot that is set aside when a parcel of land is subdivided, to provide future access to the backlot. The lot may become part of a real street if the backlot is developed. The lot in question, shown in red below, would become an extension of Theriault St. Mr. Buck said the backlot is a large piece of property that is developable, and needs both of the paper streets that were set aside for access (the other one is further down Pierce Ave.). Discontinuing either would have a severe impact on the value of the backlot, which he expects will become a subdivision of homes at some point. He said homeowners all over town are using these paper streets inappropriately, planting gardens and placing sheds in them. The homeowner who raised the issue will be notified that the lot will be neither paved nor discontinued, and that he is improperly encroaching on City property.

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