A large turnout attends a Robie Park master plan meeting in Gorham last week. Rob Delaney, a Robie Park Steering Committee member, is pictured at right. Robert Lowell / American Journal

A town-appointed Robie Park Steering Committee is well on its way to creating a master plan to preserve and improve the green space between the high school and municipal center.

A community meeting last week to get suggestions on the park’s future drew more than 60 supporters.

“I was very excited so many people turned out for the event,” said Town Councilor Phil Gagnon, chairperson of the steering committee.

Written suggestions from breakout groups at the meeting included adding comfortable benches, restrooms, tree identification plaques and ADA accessibility. Residents also said they want trees to be replanted.

“This tree is a majestic beauty,” said Mike Chabot, vice chairperson of the Robie Park Steering Committee. Robert Lowell / American Journal

The move to preserve the 6.7-acre park came after the School Department, with Town Council approval, cut down a tree grove there last year without notifying neighbors beforehand. Arborists said then that tree limbs were in danger of falling.

Residents and the Friends of Robie Park group rallied for park preservation. Save Robie Park signs still appear on lawns along Morrill Avenue and Sylvan Road near the park.


The Town Council appointed a steering committee last August to come up with a park master plan. In March, the committee adopted a vision statement that calls for a “vibrant” and accessible park with “green spaces, recreational amenities and educational opportunities.”

The park now contains a youth softball field, basketball court, playground, raised community garden beds and a high school beehive. Some park trees are estimated to be a century old, said Mike Chabot, a Morrill Avenue resident and steering committee vice chairperson. His wife, Toni Chabot, said the park is a popular dog walking site and children like to ride their bikes there.

Lisa Bolduc is a neighbor of Robie Park and a leading proponent of saving it. Robert Lowell / American Journal

The Gorham School Department in recent years has looked into relocating five high school tennis courts to the park and adding school parking on park property.

At the meeting last week, participants said they are opposed to adding more pavement and tennis courts to the park. They also don’t want any more trees to be cut down or further encroachment on the park’s borders.

The steering committee will approach the Town Council with its preliminary plans for the park once it receives some designs from Aceto Landscape Architects, Gagnon said. Caitlin Aceto of the Aceto firm attended last week’s meeting.

“We don’t have a deadline, but once we have a firmer grasp on design, we will come back to the Town Council to present where we are. I would guess sometime in September,” he said.

The park was named in honor of town benefactor Martha Robie, wife of Gov. Frederick Robie.

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