SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Following months of contentious debate, selectmen here joined forces with the school board and recommended town funding for restoring the downtown playground.
The proposal will be on the ballot at the June 12 election. Residents are being asked to approve spending $180,000, as a loan from the town’s undesignated fund balance that will be repaid from future tax revenue at $30,000 per year. Nearly $30,000 has been raised from donations, according to a flyer.
Parents and school administrators packed into the town’s meeting room for the public hearing on the proposal on Tuesday evening. Selectmen voted 5-1 in favor of recommending that voters approve the appropriation. Chad Terry, Ryan Donahue, Chairman Dan Norwood and Lydia Goetze were in favor. George Jellison Jr. was opposed.
The proposed playground would replace the structure located behind Harbor House. Kids can be found playing most any time of day on the bars, bridges and slides. Rust, corrosion and loose metal are visible scars the aged structure exhibits.
“As a taxpayer and mother of an almost fourth-grader, that playground was installed when I was in fourth grade, and it’s time,” resident Holly Masterson said during the hearing.
“I want to thank you for your support to date,” Superintendent Marc Gousse told selectmen.
One member of the public told the Board of Selectmen that his grandchildren more often play on the Town Hill playground because of perceived safety hazards.
“I encourage you all to get people out to vote June 12th,” Norwood told those gathered at the end of the public hearing.