More parking at Davis Park eyed
Bethel selectmen Monday evening opted not, for the moment at least, to approve a plan for expanded parking at Davis Park.
Town Manager Jim Doar had presented a plan that called for shortening the pathway from where it currently begins, at the playground, to approximately where the port-a-potties are now, then filling the area where the pathway was, in order to accommodate the additional parking spaces.
The plan in question had been drawn up by Doar and Road Foreman Scott Sumner, to correct the parking congestion at the park.
The arrangement would add 15 to 20 new spaces, Doar said.
“We have one proposal. It may not be the only proposal; it may not be the best proposal, but it’s our proposal and we think it’s a good proposal,” he told the board.
But the selectmen were skeptical.
They expressed doubt that the plan would, in fact, add that many spaces.
“I think it’s a good idea to add more parking, but I don’t think you’re going to get 15 to 20 more in there,” said Jack Cross.
And they worried about the mix of additional parking traffic and children, especially little children.
“We’ve had parties down there with kids, and they just scurry everywhere,” said Bob Everett.
Dennis Doyon agreed, saying: “I’d hate to see some little kid get buggered up.”
Everett also said there were already other safety issues at the site, including the lack of a fence along the river.
“Here we’re talking about safety, and there’s no fence,” he said. “I saw a kid get out of a car and he went kerchoo, right for that rock [rip-rap at the water's edge], and his mother was running after him screaming. He was down over the bank and almost into the water before she could catch him. ... and that section of the river is deep.”
Doar had provided a marked-up aerial photograph to help explain the plan, but Board Chairman Stan Howe found the visual less than informative.
“I couldn’t figure anything out,” Howe said.
Rather than approve the plan Monday, the selectmen instead decided to schedule a site walk, for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 1, prior to their next regular meeting.
The selectmen Monday did express informal approval for another paving plan in the area.
The Maine Department of Transportation has scheduled a public meeting for Tuesday, June 8, also at 6 p.m. at which MDOT will take public input on its plan to replace the deck of the Canadian Northern Railroad Crossing Bridge, which carries routes 2, 5 and 26 over Railroad Street.
The bridge, said Doyon, “has been patched up for years.”
Everett agreed. “If you look up, you see all that cardboard holding it up.”