Dexter to receive assistance in planning for the future
DEXTER — As the town of Dexter prepares to revise its comprehensive plan, the community will receive some help. During a Sept. 12 meeting the town council agreed to participate in the Orton Family Foundation Community Heart & Soul program.
“On Monday we had a meeting with Heart & Soul and the Orton Family Foundation,” Town Manager Trampas King said, with several dozen in attendance earlier in the week. He said organization representatives first came to Dexter in February and, after the session went well, agreed to come back later in the year after a number of summer activities had been held.
“It’s a program to help get the community more involved in decision making,” King said before the council passed a resolution to participate in the Orton Family Foundation Community Heart & Soul program with the town manager to serve as the project coordinator with the assistance of volunteers.
He said the program will include interviews “to find out what people like about town and where they want to go” with all age groups taking part, from high school students to senior citizens. “We want kids to tell us what would bring them here and what would keep them here,” King said.
“It gets all those groups together here so they are all communicating together,” he said about another aspect of Heart & Soul. King said the various participants will help in the work on revising the comprehensive plan.
“It takes two years and we’re going to need money,” King said, giving an estimate of $5,000. He said the funds could come from economic development accounts and the Dexter Revitalization Committee may contribute.
Councilor Fred Sherburne said having nearly 30 attend the meeting three days earlier was an encouraging sign. He said “15 or more were new faces who we don’t see every day.”
Sherburne said the town is ready for a program such as Heart & Soul, as demonstrated with the summer Group Workcamps Foundation’s Group Mission Trip and the 2-year planning process leading up to 400 volunteers from around the country spending nearly a week in town in late July to fix up 60 homes at no cost for eligible residents who otherwise could not afford to have the needed repairs taken care of.
“I’m really excited to have it happening and I look forward to it,” Sherburne said.
King said Buckport participated in Heart & Soul in 2015 and the program has since served beneficial for economic development when businesses are looking at the community. “It helps when somebody comes into town and sees what you want and what your goals are,” he said.
“It’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be a lot of work but I think it’s going to help us get ahead,” the town manager said.
In other business, the council approved placing a pair of ordinance amendments on next month’s agenda (the meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 10) for with public hearings before potential votes.
The first proposed amendment would allow for ATV access on portions of 15 town roads. These travelways are all on the east side of Route 7 and would access the old railroad bed trail.
In his report, King wrote that the town’s ATV task force met to discuss the additions with residents and the Garland Trail Hawks and Corinna Trail Blazers ATV clubs.
The second ordinance amendment pertains to property maintenance, setting a minimum standard for the premises surrounding buildings, structures and vacant lots. These properties would need to be kept free of noxious weeds or similar plants growing in excess of eight inches. Weeds are defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation other than trees and shrubs, and cultivated flowers and gardens are not included in the ordinance.
The code enforcement officer would enforce the provisions, with written notice and then fines if violations are not addressed.
“This is something the town has been calling for a long time now,” Council Chair Peter Haskell said.