June 1, 2012

Collision on East-West highway plan

Proponents of the east-west road proposal provide details to 700 people at a meeting, including vocal foes and local supporters.

By Tux Turkel tturkel@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Rob Borden and Erla St. Pierre, both of Wellington, display their opposition to the East-West Highway plan before a public meeting Thursday in Dover-Foxcroft.

Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

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"We don't want our way of life stamped out by one big footprint," said David Lee Finley, a retired Dover-Foxcroft native.

The event was organized by a newly formed coalition of residents and local groups in Piscataquis and Penobscot counties called Stop the East-West Corridor. Its stated goal is to increase collaboration between groups around the state that are coming out against the proposed highway.

As they assembled, a long line was forming outside the gym as security officials began letting people inside.

Inside, opponents sat mainly in the bleachers, behind local residents who had come to learn more about the project or voice their support.

Because of the scale and scope of the project, opponents say the East-West Highway is shaping up to become one of the state's landmark development battles, a legal and political tussle that could drag on for years.

Scores of opponents traveled to this town of 4,200 along the banks of the Piscataquis River to fire an opening shot in that pending battle.

The atmosphere was festive, with a folk guitar duo playing in the warm afternoon. Participants mingled, some wearing blaze orange T-shirts that read "Friends of the Hollow Middle," an apparent reference to a statement attributed to Vigue about this rural section of Maine.

Other people carried signs, such as "Investors beware, rabble in roadway," and "Don't break the heart of Maine."

"We're giving up far too much real estate for far too few jobs," said Bryant Brown, who owns 150 acres in Monson and fears the road would go by or near his home.

Staff Writer Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or at:

tturkel@pressherald.com

 

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