Ellsworth councilors confirm drug-free “safe zones”

ELLSWORTH — City councilors Monday approved the request of Police Chief Glenn Moshier to designate four additional drug-free “safe zones” around the city — Knowlton Park, Harbor Park, the DeMeyer Field Complex and the Moore Community Center.

“This is a first wave,” said Moshier, adding that the department might eventually look into expanding to other areas frequented by children.

Penalties for drug offenses are automatically aggravated in safe zones. The boundaries of the zone must be posted with signs, costing $25 to $35 each, to inform the public of the enhanced penalties. The zone extends within 1,000 feet of the boundary, although signage is not required out to 1,000 feet.

“I strongly support this,” said Councilor Dale Hamilton. “I think it sends a strong message as to what we value.”

Councilors also heard from Nick Navarre, chairman of the Ellsworth Green Plan’s Walkability and Bikeability subcommittee, who briefed members on a survey the organization conducted regarding walkability in the city. Navarre said the group has counted 17 crosswalks in the city that are “missing,” where the infrastructure has been built but painted lines are not visible. That list has been presented to the city planner.

“We feel it’s very important to make sure as many crosswalks that we have can be painted to make sure pedestrians are visible as well as send the message that our community is welcoming to pedestrians,” said Navarre, who also told the council that the nonprofit recently received a $1,500 grant from America Walks, which will be matched with funds from the Ellsworth Garden Club to work on trails behind the library.

In other news, the city recognized Edmund Murray for his 20 years of service as custodian at the Ellsworth Public Library.

“Your devotion to duty and loyalty to the community have contributed to the improvement of the city of Ellsworth,” said Council Chairman Marc Blanchette.

Under new business, the council accepted a proposal from Rockland-based Prock Marine to conduct “emergency repairs” to pilings and other structures at Harbor Park.

“I would suggest that we do this project now or close the harbor for the summer,” said Councilman Gary Fortier.

Estimated costs for repairs are $76,000, although councilors said they would consider additional funding if necessary. The money likely would come from unallocated funds in a $1.1-million bond anticipation note the council approved in January. Prock Marine was chosen at the suggestion of engineering consultant Andrew McCullough, who evaluated several options in the area.

Councilors also approved the request of The Ellsworth American to donate part of the Water Street parking lot back to the city. The lot was purchased by the company for $15,000 in 1995 to satisfy a now-discontinued ordinance requiring a certain lot-to-building size ratio. It was sold under a restricted deed and has been public parking “since time immemorial,” including during the time it was been owned by the paper, said City Manager David Cole in an interview last week.

Several appointments to various boards were confirmed. Tammy Mote was appointed to the Recreation Commission and Jarad Wilbur was appointed to the Housing Authority Board and also to the Board of Appeals as an associate board member. Michelle Begin was confirmed as a full member of the Board of Appeals (she is currently an associate board member).

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Southwest Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at [email protected]

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