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Committee proposes new rules, fees for commercial vehicles visiting Fort Williams Park

The Fort Williams Park Committee is recommending that tour buses visiting the park stay out of the circle directly in front of Portland Head Light.

The recommendation is No. 1 among new rules and fees proposed for commercial vehicles visiting Portland Head Light and Fort Williams Park.

The Town Council on May 14 referred to a future workshop a list recommendations for enhancing safety, managing patron density and improving infrastructure, while reducing the taxpayer burden of commercial traffic in the park. One of the 2018 goals for the council is to review the mission, vision and financial sustainability of Fort Williams Park.

The recommendations were developed by a subcommittee of the Fort Williams Park Committee and approved by the full panel.

No. 1 recommendation for safety - "Eliminate commercial van and bus traffic from Captain Strout Circle, with the exception of trolleys and local senior citizen vans (which do not offload passengers). Provide signage at the four way stop to facilitate the change as well as appropriate placement of informational signage throughout the park."

The report further recommends improvements to the central parking area and approach to the lighthouse, including drainage improvements, stable (paved) surfaces and railways and benches where needed.

Included in the recommendations is a new "Commercial Capacity Based" fee structure for vans and limousines, mini-buses, trolleys and motorcoaches. The proposal projects revenues of $87,400 from commercial vehicles in the 2019 season, compared to the $57,150 generated in 2017, an increase of 53 percent.

The report also recommends the Town Council move forward with requests-for-proposals to implement a pay/display parking program [news article].

Councilors accepted the report with thanks and referred it to a workshop yet to be scheduled.