BRUNSWICK — Brunswick town officials have voted with “some reservations” to accept a donation of roughly 150 acres off Old Bath Road to be used for recreation. 

Though unanimous, some councilors said they were hesitant to accept such a large parcel, valued at about $885,000, with no established plan for how it will be used or how the town will pay for its management. 

But, as councilor Kathy Wilson said, additional recreation could add “long term value to the town,” and “we’d be foolish to not take it.” 

Maine Gravel Services donated the land, previously a sand excavation site, with the intent that the town would own and manage it for outdoor recreation purposes. The area appears to be in good shape and an environmental evaluation suggests that there are not any known environmental hazard. A more detailed study will be done now that the council has accepted the property, according to Town Manager John Eldridge. 

The property borders nearly 66 acres known as the Capt. William Fitzgerald USN Recreation and Conservation Area, given to the town by the Navy in 2011. Together, the two parcels would create more than 200 acres of open-space for Brunswick.

The donated area features a large spring-fed pond that Tom Farrell, director of Brunswick Parks and Recreation said is an “incredibly, clear, clean body of water.” 

“The recreation potential for a sandy-bottomed, sandy-sided pond … we don’t have anything else like it,” Councilor Stephen Walker said. “Swimming, artificial beaches, you name it.” 

The pond could also be used for fishing tournaments, Councilor Dave Watson suggested. He added that he hopes for four-season recreation. 

The town may sell a portion of the land, a few peripheral lots with houses on them, to help pay for its development.

Council Chairman John Perreault admitted there are “a lot of things the town could do with this land,” but said he was concerned about the cost of maintaining the land once it’s developed, and that even getting to that point could be difficult. 

“I don’t think the sale of a couple of these lots is going to be enough to develop this site,” he said, adding that once it is developed, the Brunswick Parks and Recreation Department will need more funding to hire additional staff to manage and monitor the property. 

“We’re talking a serious thing,” he said. “I’m not opposed to the whole scenario,” (but) I would have liked to see a plan. … I’m concerned over the longevity of it.” 

Farrell agreed that the town “should look outside of the tax rolls for funding,” and according to Walker, the area boasts many rare plant and animal species and ample “opportunities for creative ecological restoration” could open avenues for state and federal funding. 

Farrell and other officials will work on plans for development and payment. 

“It has great potential for the town in so far as revenue,” Watson said. “I see that as a huge economic value.” 

Comments are not available on this story.