The Gray Town Council is showing both imagination and foresight in promoting the building of the Narrow Gauge Railroad museum and conference center right off Route 100, to give the 110,000 yearly visitors to the Maine Wildlife Park another educational site to visit while here. 

Shops, restaurants and parking already exist near the proposed railway, and more retail development could flourish in lower Gray Village. It is a commitment of each citizen of approximately $62 upfront for an incalculable return.

It does not show good planning to have a competing retail and commercial area develop along the Route 26 corridor north of the bypass, as now proposed by the same Town Council, where business would compete with the museum area development and lure customers away from the village.

Traffic on this Route 26 corridor is clogged mornings as school populations and commuters try to get to work.

It is even more choked most afternoons and evenings as people return home, to say nothing of Fridays as visitors to recreational venues get off at exit 63 and head as quickly as possible to lakes, skiing and the casino in Oxford via this narrow passage.

Whom does this benefit? Certainly not the homeowners of the area, who could see businesses, ring roads and high-density housing replace their homes and small farms. Projection of 5,000 more traffic trips per day would clog this corridor, requiring another lane and two more stoplights in the 1.3-mile stretch of Route 26 between Hannaford and Dry Mills.

Change will come, but let us hope the town planners and the majority of Gray citizens direct the best possible change with the least negative impact for all residents of and travelers to and through Gray.

Sally Quinn Johnston