Scarborough residents visit the polls Tuesday at the high school, where a question asking for funds to fix the school’s turf field failed. Krysteana Scribner / The Forecaster

SCARBOROUGH — Residents approved $3.2 million in bonds on Nov. 5, voting in favor of land trust funds and a new pumper truck and against spending $1.2 million to renovate the turf field at the high school.

In total, $2.5 million will go to the Scarborough Land Acquisition reserve fund and $660,000 will replace a 31-year-old Fire Department pumper truck.

The $660,000 fire truck bond was approved 2,497 to 2,096. Including interest paid over the life of the proposed 15-year bond for the pumper, estimated at just less than $283,250, debt service may reach almost $943,2500 if approved at the polls.

The land trust fund, which has a balance of just $270, was effectively emptied July 10 for the Blue Point Preserve Campaign, a conservation project to make land available for walking trails and access to the Scarborough Marsh. Councilors voted 5-2 on Oct. 3 to send the bond to voters.

Trust Executive Director Richard Bard said it’s the first time since 2000 that the town is without a source of funding for land preservation projects, so he’s happy to see that voters approved the bond 2,688 to 1950.

“We’re thrilled that the community saw the value in investing more in conservation in Scarborough,” he said in an interview Nov. 6. “It’s an important issue and we’re glad that everyone sees it.”

The funds may be awarded by the town council to a variety of nonprofit or governmental organizations that apply to the town for a grant. According to the town’s evaluation process, a proposal may be brought by a landowner, town staff or elected officials, residents requesting the board evaluate a parcel from a willing seller, or a group such as the Scarborough Land Trust.

Since 2000, Bard said, the town has used $5 million to acquire 920 acres of land. The Blue Point purchase adds to six public access preserves in town.

Including interest paid over the life of the proposed 20-year bond, estimated at just less than $569,375, debt service for the land trust fund could reach almost $1.6 million if and when all funds have been used.

The $1.2 million bond for the turf field renovations, denied by a vote of 2,504 to 2,097, would have been used to repair the high school field, which was already in need of repairs after being vandalized in July after a truck caused almost $22,000 in damage.

According to Community Services Director Todd Souza, officials planned to talk Wednesday about what to do about the turf field, as it’s no longer safe for students to play on.

“We’re obviously disappointed in the vote, with the age and condition of the turf,” he said. “But we will work to put a process together to address the maintenance challenges this facility is presenting.”

Councilors approved the $1.2 million bond 5-4 on Sept. 4 after a request of $1.6 million by Souza was denied Aug. 27. He said the initial estimate of $1 million was increased because several vendors had higher estimates after inspecting the site. FieldTurf USA submitted the winning proposal, he said, although a contract hadn’t been finalized.

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