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Zip line article debate Monday
RUMFORD -- Three addendum articles before voters to sell two town lots along the Androscoggin River to a local zip line park developer figures to draw much debate at Monday's annual business meeting.
The 7 p.m. meeting, to take place in the Muskie Auditorium at Mountain Valley High School, involves several non-budget articles to be voted on at the beginning, prior to moving on to the informational meeting for the budget articles that will voted on by secret ballot vote on June 11.
Tom Carey of WOW-ZA! Zip-lines LLC wants to buy the two lots, numbered 248 and 250, for $1 to establish a zip line and recreation park contingent on several conditions.
Lot 248 includes the portion of the lot not needed for the town snow dump or other town purposes. While the Board of Selectmen spent a great deal of time debating the future of this parcel at their last meeting, Lot 250 has raised much concern the librarian, trustees and Friends of the Rumford Public Library as it involves the portion east of the library parking lot and current fence, and a 10-foot right of way along the western side of the current fence to Chisholm park.
Luke Sorensen, librarian, expressed concern about the impact this might have on the library's parking, particularly when they hold special events.
Carolyn Kennard, chairman of the library trustees, stated in a letter to the editor, that in 1903, an agreement was made between Hugh J. Chisholm, president of the Rumford Falls Power Co., to give the Town of Rumford a parcel of land for one dollar to be used for a public library. This land can only be used for a library, according to the terms written in the deed.
She went on to note, "If the Rumford selectmen decide to give Tom Carey part of the library property for one dollar, it could potentially be a violation of the terms of this deed and is clearly a violation of Hugh Chisholm's intent. Therefore, Rumford could lose the land where our public library is located."
At the selectmen's meeting, Carey said repeatedly that he does not want this issue to drag on because this is a business opportunity with a short window. He said there is money that will be invested for the $300,000 to $400,000 zip line project.
They would like to get something in place as soon as next fall.
He noted, "This is the critical stage of this project. Investors are waiting to see the action of the town."
Last Fourth of July, Envision Rumford enjoyed success with a temporary 500-foot dual zip line at Hosmer Field. On May 4, they had a temporary 600-foot dual zip line over the Androscoggin River during the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Festival that was even more successful, with 250 trips.
Carey, who envisions this area possibly becoming a fun park that would help bring business back to the Waldo Street area, said if all goes well, there would be three phases -- the first, a zip line of 1500 feet; the second, a 2,500-foot zip line from the green bridge; the third, a 4,000-foot zip line.
A common equation for all three phases is the snow dump site, which Carey said is a perfect area for the finish of the zip lines.