top of page

ACT Burns the Mortgage

From the Arundel Community Celebration on May 31st, 2024. Spoken by Joan Hull.

Thank you, Deb, and thank all of you for coming tonight to celebrate this very happy day. 

In 2016 Arundel decided we badly needed a new town hall. There were three potential building sites. Two were a few acres on route one. The other was a 47-acre parcel here on Limerick Road.  

The ACT founders were a group of six friends who came together because we saw exciting potential for the larger site. It was close to the Eastern Trail; it could be a community space. Our community could gather, meet neighbors, have fun, and ensure that our children and generations to come would have a public space to be close to nature. 

We campaigned for the selection of this site. Particularly Jack Reetz and Sam Hull who testified before the selectboard, wrote letters to the editor, and buttonholed whoever they could talk about the idea.  

The selectboard listened but was quite clear they had no interest in buying such a big piece of land when they only need a few acres.  

“What if we bought the land with you” we said with no idea how we might do it. As I remember it, a chuckle was heard from the selectboard which became a challenge to us. 

We brainstormed ideas at Dot Gregoire’s kitchen table and Linda Zuke’s conference table at Weirs. Leia Lowery suggested we might talk to her boss Tom Bradbury, the Director of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.  

We met with this amazing man who said, “You should start an Arundel Conservation Trust and trust that you will find a way to find the money” We left the meeting convinced we could do anything, and ACT was born. Soon our practical side reared its head as we realized we had no idea how to start a conservation organization or to find $175,000 for our portion of the land. 

We decided to go back to Tom and proposed we become an independent chapter of KCT. He offered us a chance to present our case to the KCT board, which we did in Feb of 2017. Before presenting Tom took us aside and said “why don’t you also ask for a loan of the $175,000. Seemed a little aggressive but as he said, “all they can do is say no”, so we went for it. 

We left and waited for the board’s answer. Tom called us to say not only had the KCT board approved us as a chapter but they were going to loan us the money. 

We couldn’t wait to let the selectboard know. Together ACT and the town developed a cooperative agreement to buy the land together and work to support each other as they built the Municipal Building, and we began working on plans for the remaining land. At the same time Selectman Phil Labbe donated two easements that gave ACT access to the Eastern Trail and a trail to the river. 

The land was bought in December 2017, because ACT was not a corporation at the time, the deed was in KCT’s name. It has taken us six long years to pay off the loan.  Tom facilitated a large anonymous gift from a former Arundel resident plus we receive a generous grant of $25,000 from Kennebunk Savings Bank. The rest has come from our fundraisers and appeals. Which means it has come from our sponsors and you!! Thank You!! 

ACT has grown tremendously; we are now incorporated as a federally recognized nonprofit. We have four pieces of land in Arundel, hundreds of members, sponsors, and an incredible team of volunteers, ``particularly our board and trail blazers. Together they have built a wonderful trail system, bike pump track and have created a place of beauty and community here on Limerick Road. 

Tonight, we get to burn the mortgage and receive a new deed in our own name. 








Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page