We have both lived in the Brunswick-Topsham area for decades and have chosen to build our careers here, raise our children here, and participate in the civic life of our community through municipal committees and the support of many local nonprofits and community groups. We love this area and are proud to call it home, but we have never been more proud to be members of this community than we were last Thursday evening when the Brunswick Town Council voted unanimously to contribute $150,000 toward the conservation of the 87-acre Woodward Point property.  If conserved by Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) and Brunswick Topsham Land Trust (BTLT), this property will offer 2 miles of shore frontage on the New Meadows River and Woodward Cove in East Brunswick and will create ample opportunities for free outdoor recreation, water access, nature-based education as well as the protection of natural resources including some of Brunswick’s most productive clam flats. 

This vote was a shining example of how our community can unite by working together for common goals—and an example of how the land holds potential to bring us together. Our Town Council (representing diverse political viewpoints) found common ground for the common good. The funds that were used to contribute to the Woodward Point conservation project were generated from the sale of a town-owned, tax-acquired property on Mere Point Rd. The debate surrounding the decision to sell the Mere Point property was contentious, but it made clear that there is strong public demand for more public access to our spectacular coastline. It is our hope that by using these funds to help conserve the Woodward Point property, we will go a long ways toward addressing this demand and meeting the goal laid out in the Town’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan to secure more water access points. Additionally, because the property will be owned and maintained by MCHT and BTLT, the Town will reap the public benefits of the property without incurring the management expenses and the project will not represent a significant loss to the Town’s tax base because the property has long been enrolled in the open space tax program. 

BTLT and MCHT have been working in partnership with the land owners, Jaki Ellis and Andy Cook, for more than 2 years to conserve the Woodward Point property; one of the best remaining, large coastal parcels available to conserve in the Town of Brunswick. We are very excited about the incredible opportunities that this property will provide to citizens of all ages. We envision this preserve becoming as well-loved as BTLT’s Crystal Spring Farm property and MCHT’s Goslings Island Preserve on nearby Casco Bay. We are inspired by the community support for a large preserve on the water which will strengthen our connection to our coastal lands and waters, and we are working tirelessly to ensure this vision is realized. 

A total of $3.5 million dollars is needed to conserve and care for the Woodward Point property as a public preserve. With the Town’s generous pledge, we are inching closer to realizing this goal. We have a dollar for dollar match in place for the remaining funds necessary, so that to successfully conserve this property an additional $110,000 (to be matched by $110,000) is needed. The deadline for having these funds committed is March 31, 2019, and we are now looking to raise the remaining funds from the community at large. If you are excited about this project and would like to make a contribution to help get us to the finish line, please go to btlt.org/woodward-point-project orgive.mcht.org/woodward to make a gift. 

The Town of Brunswick, Town Staff and committee members have long been strong partners with our land trusts in conserving some of the area’s most special places; indeed, the Town Council endorsed the Woodward Point project early on, when it provided a letter of support for a federal grant that contributed $570,000 to the project. Now, with a financial contribution of its own, the Town has increased the chances of success for this project and we wanted to take this moment to express our sincere thanks to the Town, and to the dozens of community members who have already contributed to this effort.   Working together, all of us have the opportunity to build the common good. 

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