Stockholm holds grand opening for boat landing and trails project

5 years ago

STOCKHOLM, Maine — The town of Stockholm recently held a grand opening and ribbon cutting for a brand new boat landing and trail system near the bridge on North Main Street, a project that has been in the works for nearly a decade.

To date, Stockholm and surrounding towns have raised more than $75,000 toward the project, which greatly exceeded the expectations of local officials.

Volunteers, town officials, and contractors responsible for the project were all present on May 25 for a ceremony led by project manager and Stockholm Planning Board member Dave Peterson, who gave a brief history of the project to dozens of guests.

The late Mike Sandstrom, a resident primarily responsible for getting the ball rolling in 2009 when the project became part of the town’s comprehensive plan, was “obsessed” with utilizing the “unique assets in [Stockholm’s] woods, fields and waters,” and prioritizing access to the town’s outdoor offerings, “right up to the time he was taken from us in 2014,” Peterson said.

“With approval and direction from our elected selectmen,” Peterson said, “we’ve been able to come together to plan, establish, and now dedicate this recreation area and to formally open the new boat launch facility.”

He said this is only the first step in a series of developments that will continue the building of trails throughout the year for walkers and bicyclists, in addition to eventually establishing “related facilities that are still just barely in the planning stages.”

In 2016, the planning board formally took on the project of creating a boat launch and expanding trails in the area, inspiring people in Stockholm and surrounding communities to help the project. Most notably local residents Suzy Anderson and Judy Bleiler donated 10 acres of land, which helped the town obtain a $73,800 grant from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry and fund the development of a boat landing adjacent to Madawaska Stream.

The area itself was dubbed the Frederick J. and Merrita D. Anderson Memorial Recreation Area, and Anderson and Bleiler’s parents, who originally had owned the 10 acres of land.

Peterson, during the ribbon cutting, also thanked a variety of individuals who helped make the project possible.

He said Joy Barresi-Saucier was responsible for doing the “heavy lifting” as the grant writer and later as a fundraising volunteer. Additionally, he thanked Tim Roix of B.R. Smith Engineering for creating the project design.

The project itself was built by Soderberg Construction of Caribou, who Peterson said was terrific in creating a “first class product” from start  to finish. Additionally, he said that both Soderberg Construction and B.R. Smith were among many local businesses that donated to the fundraising campaign.

“And speaking of donations,” Peterson said, “I have to mention one truly motivating gift. Our native son, Elmer Gunnerson, personally restored to factory specs a beautiful Ford Model-T, which he donated to be raffled to benefit the project. We also need to thankfully take note of the work of Rick Nichols, our local master sign-maker, who volunteered his considerable skills to create the sign at our entrance as well as the donor recognition sign.”

He concluded by thanking a “core group that put in countless hours to prove anything can be done, even in a small town with limited resources:” Stockholm Planning Board members Tom Campbell, Herb Lausier, Dave Duquette, Dave Strainge and Brent Johnson; in addition to Linda Callison, Lori Costello, Debbie Currier, Val Delaney, Liddey McCulley and Charles Forsman.

“I want to offer them my personal thanks for being the best such group that I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” he concluded. “Great job.”