Falmouth is facing a major decision on how it will look for the next 30 years.

A proposal to redevelop the aging Falmouth Shopping Center on Route 1 sounds great at first, but the plan hinges on zoning changes to allow two full-size soccer fields and a 70,000-square-foot indoor sports arena. This is taking place in what had been foreseen as a town center in long-range planning by the town and citizens.

Full-size soccer fields and sports buildings are welcome in Falmouth, but there are more appropriate locations than in an area zoned for a village center, where shops, businesses and a walkable environment could be created. It’s hard to imagine such a place next to a 500-foot-wide expanse of soccer fields. It’s hard to imagine this could be a focal point for all residents of Falmouth.

Most people would agree that the shopping center is a prime property to develop. If done thoughtfully, it could have a positive influence in creating a town center, for which several towns around Portland have strived for some time.

Falmouth residents should be concerned because of the fate of the town and permanent changes to already-congested traffic on Route 1.

On Jan. 14, the community has a chance to share their opinions on the development and the zoning changes needed to allow it. Please attend the Town Council public forum and speak about protecting Falmouth Center.

John Henson