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Presque Isle Recreation Department to install crosswalk signage near splash pad

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Presque Isle Recreation Department recently purchased pedestrian crosswalk lights to be installed in August at the intersection of Chapman Road and Riverside Drive near the Sargent Family Community Center and new splash pad.

The new signage is designed to automatically flash when someone walks close enough and will be solar-powered, similar to the crosswalk lights installed near the University of Maine at Presque Isle. There also will be signage further up the road near the entrance to Riverside Drive indicating that drivers should slow down for the upcoming pedestrian crosswalk.

The department has purchased the signage and expects it to be delivered in time for installation in August.

“We’ve seen increased pedestrian traffic near Riverside Drive and near the community center, which has increased our efforts to make the area safer for everyone,” Recreation and Parks Director Chris Beaulieu said.

Beaulieu noted that although the splash pad has been open since June, the department had not been able to buy the signage until recently due to the lack of funds.

“Every penny that we previously received was used to fund the construction and future installation of playground equipment,” Beaulieu said.

In June, Beaulieu told the Presque Isle City Council that the new playground would not be complete until August due to necessary equipment modifications. Since then the Recreation Department has opened the splash pad and a snack bar and worked to generate more funds to buy tables and chairs and a shade structure.

The cost for crosswalk signage is $9,000 and Beaulieu confirmed this past Wednesday that the department has now received enough donations to cover the purchase costs for the other amenities, which total around $35,000. Officials also have discussed possibly installing a fence near the stream that runs adjacent to the splash pad, but such a project would require additional funding that current donations do not cover.

“It would not likely be a chain-linked fence, but something that would discourage children from going too close to the stream,” Beaulieu said.

Since opening, the splash pad has seen hundreds of visitors per day, according to Beaulieu. A grand opening for the playground will likely be held in mid-August or September.

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