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08/17/2018

Fort Williams Park to host annual event for regional Rotary

Fort Williams Park will be the site of an annual conference for local and nearby Rotary Clubs on June 21-22, 2019.

The Town Council on Aug. 13, 2018 approved a request from the Cape Elizabeth/South Portland Rotary Club to reserve the park's picnic shelter and adjacent field area. Approximately 250 Rotarians are expected from the club's district comprising southern Maine and part of New Hampshire, said Cape Elizabeth club member Tony Wagner.

"John LoBosco, our district governor (and Cape resident) had a vision to make this a family event and thus we'd like to use a facility as beautiful as Fort Williams Park," Wagner told members of the Town Council.

Typically the event to celebrate Rotary's annual activities is held at a convention center, hotel or conference hall, but this year the idea is to accommodate club members with young families, Wagner said. "So this is the first time deal for us as far as doing this kind of event in a park," he said.

The Fort Williams Park Committee unanimously recommended both the early reservation request, and the request for a waiver of fees, in recognition of the club's support of the park over the years.

Councilors approved the request 4-1, with Councilor Chris Straw opposed. Straw said he appreciates all that Rotary has contributed to the town and park, but that he believed the application of fees should be consistent.

Wagner said plans for the event include a Friday afternoon service project for 20-30 club members to work on a portion of the park, "so when we leave on Saturday evening it's better than when we got there on Friday morning."