ELLSWORTH — The City Council Monday approved a proposal for the design and engineering of a public park on the Knowlton School property.
City Manager Michelle Beal asked the council to authorize $40,000 for the project, which is the amount allocated in the FY 2010-2011 budget.
A local pediatrician attended the meeting to praise the council for its plans to pursue a park.
Dr. Sheena Whittaker practices at Maine Coast Pediatrics and told the council that a park is not just about play but a vital health issue.
Whittaker said many of her patients don’t live in places where there are sidewalks to walk on and they can’t afford to go to the Y.
These children have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease — medical conditions unheard of for children previously, the doctor said. This is the first generation that is not expected to have the same life expectancy as their parents’ generation, she said.
“It truly is kind of a life and death issue right now,” Whittaker said. “I really applaud your efforts.”
Beal and the Knowlton School Property Reuse Committee will meet in the next three weeks to take the next steps.
The city will need to figure out how to do the design work with a $40,000 budget because the proposal from engineering firm Woodard & Curran is $53,400, the city manager said.
“What I’m hoping to do is have the design completed by late winter or early spring so we can come back to the council and come up with a funding plan for it,” Beal said.
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