Saco finds itself with a 30-acre piece of riverfront land that it likely will set aside for future use as a park.

The land was acquired through the previous owner’s failure to pay taxes, and city officials said it’s in a good spot on the Saco River between two other city parks where people can put in canoes and small boats.

City Councilor Les Smith said that means it’s well-situated for those who want to take a shorter paddle on the river or want a space to pull out and stretch their legs, but city officials don’t envision heavy use or significant development of the land.

“It’s not going to be Waterworld or Funtown,” Smith said.

The property is off Boom Road and is currently accessed through an easement from a property owner whose driveway connects to Boom Road.

Saco officials said they might put a few barbecue grills and picnic tables on the site, as well as a small dock that can be pulled from the river after summer ends.

They also note the city doesn’t have a lot of money to develop the park, even if officials wanted more than open space and river access.

“We don’t want to invest anything right now, especially with the economy the way it is,” said Joe Hirsch, the city’s director of parks and recreation.

The council will vote on April 5 whether to set the land aside for possible park use. Smith said he hasn’t heard any opposition.

Land acquired through non-payment of taxes is usually evaluated for city use and put out to bid if Saco doesn’t have a pressing need for the property.

Smith noted the land was only valued at about $60,000 because setback requirements and extensive wetlands virtually preclude construction of a house or other building.

He said a farmer currently leases a part of the property for growing sod and the city will be happy for that to continue.

Hirsch said the city is unlikely to publicize the park this year until decisions are made about how the site should be used.

He said the only city service this year may be to send a crew out to the site to pick up litter a few times a month.

 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com