October 21, 2013

Improvements planned for Windham - By Becky Longacre

The Windham Town Council met last Tuesday to discuss some improvement plans for the town. Some topics of interest are the upgrading of the Donnabeth Lippman Park, the establishment of a task force to improve economic development and outlining the goals still needing to be achieved for the year 2013.

Lippman Park improvement
The Town Council is putting a long-term plan together to improve Lippman Park behind Sherwin-Williams on Route 302. The town bought up a large portion of the land in the park from the Portland Water District in 2011 and Mr. Lippman donated a significant amount to the area in dedication to his wife, Donnabeth. It now covers 123 acres of land with 10-acre Chaffin Pond as the centerpiece. 

The first phase of the improvements involve “access roads and parking,” according to Windham town manager Tony Plante. “The council felt that it was better to do it in pieces rather than all at once. This is the first step,” Plante added. He said that the total improvement project would last between four and five years as an estimate. Doing the work is important because it is the first step to increase access to the park is to improve the roads and logistical parking patterns. 

Drew Corporation of Lovell, Maine was chosen by the town to do the site work which should begin in a couple of weeks. A new granite sign was placed this week as well.

Economic Development Task Force
“The Economic Development Task Force was put together by the council,” Plante said. 

Dan Hancock, the spokesperson for the task force spoke before the town council to talk about the research and goals of the Economic Development Task Force. “Development should benefit the entire community, not just growth for growth’s sake,” he said. 

The task force looked at the demographics of Windham, who’s choosing to move in and out and why. They put a focus on community structures. The Task Force suggested that the champion of Windham’s economic development should be the WEDC (Windham Economic Development Corporation). This is a non-government agency, but the final say in finding and allocation would fall under the town council. 

“I think the primary focus is on business development,” said Plante, who will be part of the task force. “[We’re] looking at economic development in a way that enhances community development. Dan Hancock spoke about benefiting the culture of Windham through the new economic endeavors here.

Goal setting at the council level
The major goals that the council anticipated finishing in 2013 are the Lippman Park project phase 1, roads and infrastructure, capital improvement planning, fire protection and the north Route 302 corridor plan impact fees and development. All council meeting agendas and many of the handouts can be found on the town’s website at www.windhamweb.com. Other goals moving forward are listed in priorities. “Nearly all priority A things were done,” said Plante. Some items from the priority B list may be tabled for next year.
Setting manageable goals for anything, especially a town is crucial to a community feeling of success, said Plante.

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