South Portland residents on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a $4.5 million bond to allow the city to acquire land and create open spaces for public access, recreation and conservation.

A portion of the funds will go toward managing and maintaining that land.

The vote was 5,369 in favor of the proposal, with 2,328 voting against.

The bond was supported by the city’s Open Space Acquisition Committee and the South Portland Land Trust. The committee said passage was necessary for environmental sustainability, keeping coastal lands undeveloped and protecting forests.

Richard Rottkov, president of the South Portland Land Trust, said Wednesday he was “ecstatic” that the bond passed.

“It’s a testament to the citizens of South Portland that we care so much about our environment and future preservation. Our citizens, not only South Portland but also throughout Maine, have always supported the protection of land and perpetuity,” Rottkov said.

The bond “ensures that the city has the funding it needs to conserve critical pieces of open space,” he said in land trust endorsement of the measure last month.

The open space committee estimated that for a person who owns a home valued at $325,000 (the current average in the city), the cost of the bond would be under $17 per year (in taxation) over a period of 20 years.”

The committee also cited past successful city investments in open spaces, including the creation of Mill Creek Park in the 1950s and Bug Light Park in 1996, according to its literature on the bond.

South Portland voters also voted yes on the statewide Question 1 to halt construction of the Central Maine Power corridor. That vote was 4,846 to 3,363.

Of the city’s 21,952 registered voters, 8,280 voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s election for a turnout of slightly less than 38%.


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