LAMOINE — Town officials are finalizing the purchase of Marlboro Beach from private owners, following a town vote last year to purchase the land for public use.
The property, totaling about 3.75 acres, was previously owned by the late James and Eleanor Norris. About an acre of the land had already been donated to the town.
Last spring, town residents voted to appropriate $10,000 from the land conservation fund in Lamoine’s budget for the purchase. An additional $35,000 was raised by Frenchman Bay Conservancy, which won’t own any portion of the beach but will have the right to ensure that it remains publicly accessible.
The beach was discounted by the Norris family to a sale price of $45,000 from an appraised value of $85,000.
“It’s a remarkable little property,” said Frenchman Bay Conservancy Director Aaron Dority. “It’s used by many people from throughout the region. It provides access to the clam flats, so there’s a lot of commercial shellfish harvesting that takes place there and has for years, so that’s really significant.”
There’s also an “amazing array of birds” there, he said, because it’s a migratory stopover point.
“We just wanted to make sure that people had access to that, and we wanted to ensure that that access was not shut off,” Dority said.
The conservation organization was approached last spring by Terry Towne, Lamoine’s tax assessor, about stepping in to help raise the funds for Marlboro Beach. Towne had been working with the Norris family to help manage the property after Eleanor and James died.
“It was Eleanor Norris’s wish to have this property go to the town of Lamoine,” he told the conservancy.
By the end of their campaign, Dority said there were “dozens” of donors, with one who matched the contributions made by others.
“I was pleasantly surprised at the diversity of individuals and organizations that came out of the woodwork and supported this,” Dority said. “The fact that there were so many different people who cared about this place pointed to its significance.”
During the summer, the Norris family had a reunion in Maine and invited Towne and Dority to their event, which celebrated the gift of a portion of the property to the town.
Marlboro Beach will be used for recreation and water access, according to Deputy Town Clerk Stu Marckoon. One of the primary functions will be for commercial fishing access.
“It has a lot of value to the town in terms of access to the water,” Marckoon said.
Lamoine’s Parks Committee will oversee the operation of the beach, Marckoon said.