It was well over a year ago since Arundel Conservation Trust was formed and I thought it a good time to share the contents of this article, published in Seacoast Online in 2017, that outline the important things we stand for. Proudly, I can add that we've made considerable progress. The founding members are still involved and our group has grown in numbers. We've built a website and hosted several activities and fundraising events. And, there will be more! Please stay tuned.
We're thankful to the community of Arundel for welcoming our activities with open arms! Enjoy our story!
By Kathy Dion / firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at 2:23 PMUpdated Apr 5, 2017 at 2:32 PM
ARUNDEL — Members of the newly formed Arundel Conservation Trust are hoping their plans for a community space on Limerick Road can foster a common love of the land, bring people together and build a sense of community.
“We hope we can foster a love for our town and celebrate what unites us,” said Sam Hull, a member of the ACT.
The ACT was recently accepted as a chapter of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, which means the group can function as an Arundel-focused organization yet still benefit from the KCT’s charitable organization tax status, expertise and experience.
“This means we don’t have to start from scratch, and we can spend our time building community,” said Joan Hull, a member of the ACT.
Arundel’s search for land on which to build a new town hall explored several properties, but the discussion kept coming back to a 35-acre parcel on the Limerick Road. The size of the parcel got the fledgling members of the ACT excited about possibilities for the future.
“We started to think about conservation stuff that would make the purchase of the property sexier,” said Leia Lowery. “Dot (Gregoire, another ACT member) called me and said, ‘Do you know how to start a conservation trust?,’ and it snowballed from there.”
The plan moving forward is for the town and ACT to purchase the property on Limerick Road, at a price still to be determined. The town hall project will take up about four to six acres for the building and parking lot, with the remaining acreage to be managed by the ACT.
The ACT has a broad vision and high hopes for the Limerick Road property, including community space and a trail system that may someday connect to the nearby Eastern Trail.
“If we had chosen another property for the town hall project, it would have just been another building plopped down somewhere,” said Lowery. “This property had the opportunity to be so much more.”
The work of the ACT will go beyond the Limerick Road property, with the group looking well into the future to preserve not just Arundel’s land, but the town’s character as well. Open spaces and vacant land is being snapped up at a quickening pace as developers and others discover the town as a bedroom community of neighboring Kennebunk and Biddeford.
The group is also presenting itself as an option for families that have “legacy land” to sell or donate, rather than selling it to a developer.
“That sense of a rural community, farms and open space — that’s going to go,” said ACT member Jack Reetz. “There is acreage for sale and development is going to happen.”
Now that the ACT is an official KCT chapter, the group’s work pace will kick into high gear. The Board of Selectmen will form a joint task force with members of the ACT to lay out a plan to work together on the town hall and other projects. Fundraising will begin in earnest and a call for volunteers is in the works.
The ACT wants the town to look ahead in terms of land and open space, character and community, and consider what kind of town Arundel should be.
“We have the opportunity to create the town we want to live in,” said Lowery. “Either the community will happen to us, or we can create it.”
The group is in the process of setting up a website and marketing plan, but those interested in volunteering can email email@example.com or visit www.arundeltrust.org.