Cape Community Arena Group provides update for Town Council

Board members of the Cape Community Arena Group, Jay Brandeis and Julie Furt provided the Town Council with an update on the proposed community arena during the Monday, January 10, 2022 council meeting.  The Cape Community Arena Group is a non-profit local organization aiming to build a community, multi-use, year-round arena at Gull Crest Fields for a mixture of sporting and public events.

Brandeis reported that their community survey and in-person informational sessions throughout town have thus far generated strong support for the project.  While responses to the survey are still coming in, Brandeis noted that interest has also come from the greater Portland area.  Brandeis also informed the council that the project has gained the interest of a potential donor willing to fund the project in its entirety. A report of current survey findings can be accessed with this link.   

Additionally, Brandeis informed the council that the group had conducted a wetland delineation study of the proposed project site.  The report found that the site, adjacent to the Public Works Building is viable, “Particularly if able to secure a Permit by Rule reducing our setback requirement to 25 feet.”  More update information on the project can be found here.  

Lastly, Brandeis and Furt said that the group wants to know, “If the Town thinks this is a viable project,” and seeks approval from the Town Council to move forward with the Planning Board process.  The Cape Community Arena Group has set their opening date goal for the winter of 2022/2023.

Councilor Penny Jordan said that although she favored the use of the Town land for this project, “My concern is that I’m not sure I am comfortable with creating a business start-up operation for the town until we have a formal business plan.” Chair Jeremy Gabrielson added that in order for the project to move forward with a Planning Board process, there would need to be a, “site control agreement.”

Councilor Nichole Boucher added that more opportunities for public input are needed before sending this to the Planning Board.  Boucher said, “There haven’t been meetings outside of workshops, with advance notice.  The public process has to be followed.”  Additionally, Boucher added, “I haven’t received emails for or against this project, which tells me that perhaps not enough people know out it.”

Councilor Gretchen Noonan agreed and said that, “We need more direct and robust feedback from the public,” noting that in the 2019 Comprehensive Plan “recreational facilities” was almost a “dead-last priority.”  Also, Noonan requested that information on zoning implications, as well as future valuation of the overall town be provided should the project be approved.

Gabrielson proposed as a way to move forward that, “Staff be asked to pull together a draft site control agreement that would have some trigger points built in for things such as a business plan,” for the February 7, Town Council workshop.  The item could then possibly be added to the  February 14 council meeting agenda.

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