About 50 Cape Elizabeth residents turned out to the middle school Sept. 17 to offer their insight about the town’s priorities.

Though several topics were covered during the 11?2-hour Town Council forum, a majority of the residents’ comments focused on improving the council’s communication strategy, preserving open space, and Town Center development.

Topics such as the town’s infrastructure, public safety, and the Comprehensive Plan were also discussed.

According to the results posted online at www.capeelizabeth.com, while some residents would like to keep Cape’s Town Center rural by not changing the zoning laws, others said they’d like to see the center revitalized with a village green. Residents suggested that the town seek a consultant to help implement the Town Center concept and improve safety at the intersections in the Town Center zone, specifically near Cumberland Farms on Route 77.

According to residents, lowering the speed limit and installing a traffic light in the Town Center could address traffic concerns.

Forum results will be used to guide the council in its upcoming annual goal-setting process.The recent forum was the first time the town solicited input from residents prior to setting annual town goals.

According to Debra Lane, town clerk and assistant town manager, councilors are expected to begin developing the town’s 2016 goals this winter.

As part of the brainstorming session, residents said the town needs to “better utilize” committees and offer “clarification of responsibilities.” Residents also proposed having a “more diverse representation on the council” and more “balanced views on committees.”

To improve communication between the town and residents, residents suggested that the council “deepen citizen involvement” and to broadcast Town Council workshops on Cape Elizabeth’s public access channel.

Among other suggestions, residents also said the council should “consider soliciting data using electronic/social media as well as ballots during elections,” and ensure that the “council represents the interests of all citizens regardless of socioeconomic status.”

Other recommendations by residents included constructing a community amphitheater and gathering space at Fort Williams, surveying residents about the town’s infrastructure priorities, and explore making town buildings more green and energy efficient. Forum participants had mixed views about whether to keep or tear down the dilapidated Goddard Mansion at Fort Williams Park, which has been closed to the public since 2009, and said residents should be surveyed in order to prioritize needs at the park.

Residents sit in a Sept. 17 forum at Cape Elizabeth Middle School where they offered input about the Town Council’s 2016 goals.

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