A proposed bus service could provide Gorham residents with transportation to Westbrook, Portland and beyond.

Metro, the Greater Portland Transit District, is proposing the latest plan to expand to Gorham public service aboard buses for University of Southern Maine college students, who would have passes.

Greg Jordan, Metro general manager, Tuesday unveiled a concept to the Gorham Town Council for service to Gorham nicknamed the “Husky Line,” using the university’s mascot moniker.

The service for university students and faculty would also provide bus transportation for Gorham residents, if the Gorham town councilors back the idea with a subsidy. “I’m concerned about our share,” Matthew Robinson, Town Council chairman, said Tuesday.

Jordan said he would like to return in September to the Town Council for another presentation. “We’re still working on actual costs,” Jordan said.

Robert Stein, university spokesman, said Wednesday a university agreement with Metro would replace an existing shuttle service for students between campuses in Gorham and Portland.

Stein described university discussions with Metro as serious. “We’re still doing due diligence on our side,” Stein said.

Stein said the university is under contract for one more year with a vendor providing the student shuttle service.

The Metro concept would feature a limited number of stops on a higher speed route through Westbrook between Gorham and downtown Portland. Metro’s bus service to Gorham could be launched in as soon as two years.

Metro now serves Falmouth, Portland, Portland International Jetport, Maine Mall in South Portland and Westbrook. It began express service last month to Yarmouth and Freeport.

The Gorham Town Council took no action on the bus service proposal Tuesday. But Town Councilor Marla Stelk said she favors bringing Metro to Gorham.

“Maybe we can work something out,” Robinson said.

In another matter, the Town Council postponed action on a historic preservation ordinance developed by the town’s Historic Preservation Committee to protect historic resources.

Rules would pertain to structures in Gorham’s  historic districts. Robinson said it would impact 60 homes.

An ordinance would require forming a commission. Any landmark or structure in a historic district or individual property listed on the national historic register could not be demolished or moved without a historic preservation certificate. If a home was demolished or moved, plans to build would require approval of the commission.

Gorham now has three historic districts – South Street Historic District; Gorham Campus Historic District; and Gorham Historic District on College Avenue, and State and School streets.

Town Councilor Michael Phinney wanted residents to have more information before passing the ordinance that establishes rules and regulations.

“We’re taking away some people’s rights,” Phinney said.

The preservation committee was established in 2014, and in January this year the Town Council authorized the committee to develope an ordinance. Town Councilor Bruce Roullard, committee chairman, said all meetings were open to the public. “We’ve put a lot of thought into this,” Roullard said. “People I’ve spoken to in town are supportive.”

Noah Miner, a member of the historic preservation committee, from the public podium said, “We’re not looking to tell people what color to paint.”

Phinney wanted the town to send a copy of the proposed ordinance  to all property owners in impacted neighborhoods and Town Councilor Ronald Shepard favored holding a public hearing at the next Town Council meeting.

Announcing another meeting in the continuing series of  “Coffee With the Chief,” Town Manager David Cole said Police Chief Daniel Jones would greet the public 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 14, at Aroma Joe’s, 109 Main St.

Greg Jordan, Metro general manager, Tuesday presents plans for expanding bus service to Gorham.

 


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