FALMOUTH — Both the town and property owners at West Falmouth Crossing feel there are new opportunities for change and growth, especially as long-awaited improvements to Gray Road near completion, said Theo Holtwijk, Falmouth’s director of economic development.

The 25-acre shopping center, valued at nearly $17.4 million, is the subject of a master plan that was created in the late 1990s. Holtwijk told The Forecaster this week that “we are now seeing many issues and opportunities that are worth broader discussion and we want to look at everything in context.”

To that end, the town is seeking public input at a forum scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Falmouth Elementary School.

The town is exploring opportunities for change and growth at West Falmouth Crossing, a shopping center on the east side of Gray Road near Exit 53 of the Maine Turnpike. Courtesy

The results of a site analysis by Terrence J. DeWan & Associates will be presented at the forum. The town hired the Yarmouth firm this past summer to look into adding a new Maine Turnpike park-and-ride lot and Downeaster train platform, among other amenities.

The work was supported with a $10,000 grant from the Maine Turnpike Authority and the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which oversees the Downeaster passenger train that makes 10 daily trips between Brunswick and Boston.

Holtwijk said town officials and property owners at West Falmouth Crossing are hoping to hear from the public about what they’d like to see improved and whether there are any particular uses that are not included.

“We really just want to bring all the parties together and look specifically at two aspects,” Holtwijk said, considering what amenities are desired and what the physical layout of the site will allow.

He said while the shopping center is governed by a master plan, “we are keenly aware that we’re talking about private property, so the town is only one player here.”

Holtwijk noted there are nine different property owners in the center, most of whom belong to an association that makes joint decisions about any changes or improvements, particularly to the property owned in common.

There’s only one undeveloped lot at the center, but Holtwijk said there may be other opportunities for infill development, including public open space.

The possibility of a new Downeaster platform being added to West Falmouth Crossing was first floated this past summer when Patricia Quinn, executive director of the rail authority, mentioned the idea to town councilors.

In July, the council indicated it had a strong interest in a new train stop, but would like to see it incorporated into a more substantial transportation hub that could include connections to other modes of transit, such as the METRO bus service and a new park-and-ride lot for commuters. Councilor Hope Cahan was also especially interested in bike or scooter sharing, as well.

This week Ed Libby, one of the most prominent property owners at West Falmouth Crossing, wouldn’t discuss any specific ideas for improvements. However, he plans to be at the Dec. 3 forum and said he’s generally interested in what the public has to say.

Holtwijk said the plan is to have a recommendation for the Town Council to consider by March 2020.

The plaza, located on the east side of Gray Road near Exit 53 is home to a Hannaford grocery store, a Gorham Savings Bank branch, a gas station, a Dunkin’ and SuperCuts, among other shops and services.

A $14.7 million infrastructure improvement project along Gray Road, or Route 100, is also underway. It includes new sidewalks, turning lanes and other upgrades.

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