After presenting the design for the planned community park to the public, Windham Parks and Recreation Director Brian Ross said the plan will be changed in response to concerns some residents expressed.

“I think it’s good to get people involved early in the process,” said Ross at last Thursday’s meeting held at the middle school. “You want the neighbors to be on board.”

Neighbors of the land where the park would be built said the plan devoted too much space to areas with specific purposes, such as volleyball and basketball courts, a BMX track and a designated area for dog walking. They said they would like to see more of the park as open grassy fields instead of designated zones that have limited uses.

“Our neighbors are not against having a recreational area,” said Michel Barter who lives near the planned park area.

Paul Johnson has a farm with rabbits, chickens and bees located behind where the dog park was planned. Neighbors said they like the atmosphere the farm brings, such as Vickie Clarke, of Swett Road, who said she enjoys having a flock of chickens cross her yard.

“This would greatly affect our quality of life,” said Johnson, adding that he is not opposed to the idea of the park, but does disagree with some of the details.

Clarke said she thinks the park would bring in more traffic since it would be open to the general public, not just Windham residents, and is planned to include a parking lot.

“I don’t see a big need for it,” she said.

Mallory Shaughnessy, who volunteers with Windham Center Stage Theater, said the gazebo included in the park plans would give the Windham community a place for outdoor chorus concerts. Many other residents said they wish the town had a place for outdoor public gatherings.

Ann Marie Barter said she appreciated having a meaningful dialogue with the Parks and Recration Department, as well as the town councilors who were there. In attendence were councilors Michael Shaughnessy, Liz Wisecup, Carol Waig and David Tobin.

The 10-acre park would encompass and expand the existing skate park next to the public safety building on Route 202.

“No matter where you put this in Windham, someone is going to say it will change the quality of their life,” said Windham resident Bill Shardlow.

Ross said his department is submitting a list of changes to the Sebago Technics civil engineering firm and will schedule a follow-up public meeting when a revised edition of the plan is ready.

Parkmeeting Paul Johnson, 29, prepares to express a concern over the proposed community park that would be built near his farm. An early version of the park had a dog section near his rabbits and chickens. Also pictured is Dan Johnson (left) and Michael Barter.

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