PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — There might just be more room to play outdoors in Presque Isle, if the Maine Public Utility Commission approves an offer from the city for 300 acres of public utility district land.
Last week, the Presque Isle City Council approved the $170,000 purchase of seven parcels on Chapman Road, Centerline Road and Rod and Gun Club Road from the public utility district. As part of the deal, the public utility district will purchase 920 Skyway St., the old public works building in the industrial park, from the city for $525,000.
One of the parcels goes all the way to the Chapman border and the north is marked by the river, said City Manager Martin Puckett.
“The parcel on Centerline Road abuts Mantle Lake Park,” Puckett said. “We could potentially add to Mantle Lake Park, expand the trail system. The other parcels abut land we own on Arnold Brook Lake and could add to the recreational space there.”
The seven parcels include: 290 Chapman Road, 38 acres; 295 Chapman Road, 264 acres; 213 Chapman Road, 10.26-acres; 31 Rod and Gun Club Road, 3.70 acres; 362 Centerline Road, 26 acres; 61 Chapman Road, 0.23 acres; and 71 Chapman Street, 0.23 acres.
Councilor Mike Chasse asked why the city needs these 300 acres.
“I don’t see why we want ownership of 300 acres on Chapman Road,“ he said. “I understand where the pieces of property are contiguous to Mantle Lake and the Riverside area park make sense, but there’s a lot of land out there and I don’t think it’s in the best use of the city to own.”
Councilor Craig Green described the seven parcels the city is purchasing, stressing the advantages and opportunities each offers the city.
“Parcel 4 is the boat landing at Rod and Gun club; it includes a right of way and a road to the river … 213 Chapman is the connective piece that connects city land,” he said, adding that those parcels make it a more developable site.
“290 [Chapman Road] connects with the actual lake and the ATV trail … and across the road 295 [Chapman Road] connects with the 213 Chapman Road and into Parcel 4. This land currently has a woodlot, farmland … it also houses a right away down to the water which has been in the past snowmobile and ATV access,” Green said.
Green pointed out that if the snowmobile access parcel was purchased privately, it’s possible that access would no longer continue because there is currently no easement there.
Additionally, 61 Chapman Road and 71 Chapman St. are adjacent to the city’s ballfields and soccer fields, he said.
“This is an opportunity to purchase some land that could be used for a wide variety of purposes in the future on behalf of the city,” City Council Chairman Kevin Freeman said.
Of concern to city councilors is the 240-day wait for the PUC to approve the purchase. But after some discussion, they said they hoped it would move more quickly but are willing to wait.