The five towns looking for a $10,000 grant to study economic development along the Standish-to-Fryeburg corridor were stopped cold by a Baldwin roadblock last week.

At last week’s town meeting the Baldwin residents considered whether the town should join with Standish, Fryeburg, Hiram and Brownfield in jointly seeking the grant. The Greater Portland Council of Governments and Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission were instrumental in helping with the project that would have explored the commercial possibilities along the 30-mile stretch of road.

Gary McNeil, Baldwin selectman, told an earlier Standish Town Council workshop considering the grant application that Richard Steeves, Baldwin town attorney, had notified Baldwin’s selectmen that it was his opinion that the town could not add their support to the grant application without approval from the town’s voters.

At the meeting in Baldwin, residents expressed a number of concerns about the regional grant, chiefly among them that it might result in the loss of local control over zoning and other regulations govering the Route 113 corridor in Baldwin.

some residents said there was not enough information available about specifics with the grant.

The original deadline for the grant submission was March 4, but an extension was granted so that the vote could be taken on March 26 in Baldwin.

The voters rejected the article by a vote of 37-22.

Gene Nesbitt, Standish town councilor, worked with the towns to help secure the grant, and said, “I am disappointed, but we will continue to participate with the rest of the towns. I think the voters misinterpreted what the grant was for and what it would do.”

When asked if anyone spearheading the grant spoke to the assembled voters at the Baldwin Town Meeting, Nesbitt answered, “No one was invited.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.