2017-10-13 / Community News

News Briefs

Construction VP receives municipal volunteer award

Although he keeps busy during his day job as a vice president of Martini Northern, a construction management firm in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Kevin Freeman always has time to give back to the Scarborough community, a trait he learned from his grandfather, a public official in Auburn in the 1930s and 1940s and father, an active volunteer in Millinocket.

Last week Freeman’s service to Scarborough was noted as he was named the town’s first Outstanding Municipal Volunteer Service Award winner for the volunteer work he does as chairman of the ad hoc public safety complex building committee, chairman of the Scarborough Economic Development Corporation board of directors and moderator of both the annual budget forum in the spring and Scarborough Community Chamber of Commerce candidates night held Thursday. Freeman was also tabbed to serve on the ad hoc elections committee, which was formed last month to examine how Scarborough’s elections are run.

Council Chairman Shawn Babine said the award is aimed a recognizing “an individual that exemplifies what volunteering is” and “given to the men and women who spent a lot of time coming to board meeting in which they are not compensated.”

Starting the award program, he said, is something that has been brought up over the past few years, but didn’t materialize until now.

Councilor Bill Donovan couldn’t image a better first choice for the award.

“It was the perfect choice as a starting point,” he said. “I am glad the town council chairman took the bull by the horns in this. This is a wonderful idea. I’ve see Kevin perform a numerous of tasks and he is always the consumate leader.”

Vice Chairman Kate St. Clair has worked with Freeman on a number of projects, most recently the public safety building committee.

“I’ve never worked with someone so easy to talk to, communicate with,” she said. “He’s accepting of everybody and everything and just think you make this town a shining place to be. I don’t think anyone could say enough good things about you.”

“Whenever we have a need in town or need someone to facilitate and help us move through issues, we always seem to call on you and you always step forward,” said Councilor Peter Hayes, who also serves on the public safety building committee. “Thanks for giving your time so freely to the town. It has made a huge difference. It’s well deserved.”

Freeman, who said he was humbled by the award, stated simply volunteering and giving back is simply in his genes.

“I do get a lot of satisfaction from volunteering and I’ve met a lot of people in town,” he said.

Council diversifies Haigis Parkway uses

The town council last week added another use to the Haigis Parkway zone when they agreed to allow high-end storage facilities as one of the ways vacant property in the zone could be used.

Council Chairman Shawn Babine saw storage units as a good fit for Haigis Parkway and the land around it.

“We have been trying to develop Haigis Parkway for 20 years. The fact we have received interest, it is a positive move not only for the landowners, but community as a whole,” he said at the Oct. 4 council meeting.

Commericial Place LLC, the owner of the Enterprise Business Park, a majority of which is in the Haigis Parkway zone, requested the change in order to bring Bluebird Storage to the business park. The New Hampshire-based company has eyed 100 Enterprise Drive for the construction of a 75,000 to 100,000-square-foot self storage building that, unlike other storage facilities, would be internally accessed, climate controlled, with onsite management.

To do so, however, the council would have had to rezone the site, the first one on the right as you head into the development, from the general business zone, something it stopped short of doing.

Jason Vafiades, a principal with Atlantic Resource Consultants, a firm that is helping with the redevelopment of the business park, said space is limited for the type of building Blue Bird Storage wants to build.

“Due to the shape of the building, that is the only lot available they could use,” he said.

Scarborough Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Karen Martin, who has been helping Commercial Place LLC work through the zone change request, said Bluebird Storage is attracted to the 100 Enterprise Drive lot because it is one of the largest and provides good visibility to Route 1.

The proximity to Route 1, however, was the reason some councilors voted against the zone change request. Councilor Katy Foley said that parcel was zoned business for a reason – to match the zoning of other parcels that abut Route 1 – and should stay that way.

Some councilors were hesitant to rezone the property after residents had indicated they saw the area around the Enterprise Business Park and Haigis Parkway as a possible town center at Planapalooza, an event held last month to get feedback about potential changes to the comprehensive plan.

“I think there may be some place for that type of use, but I have concern with that particular parcel,” said councilor Peter Hayes.

Foley worried if the council had approved the rezoning request, other business owners along Route 1 in that area, may follow suit.

Babine said he shared Foley’s concern about setting a precedent, but was comfortable with this particular request. Babine and Rowan were, however, the only councilors to vote in favor.

Compiled by Staff Writer Michael Kelley. He can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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