On March 8, the Skowhegan Board of Selectmen took no action on the proposed second bridge, preferring instead to allow the Village Planning Initiative, new school and other large projects in town to be completed before continuing any bridge discussion or environmental studies of proposed locations. We thank everyone who has voiced support for the Skowhegan Gateway conservation lands and Veterans Park, and we encourage you to stay engaged.
There is much more ahead.
SWT Board of Trustees
Nearly 100 years ago, the founders of Somerset Woods Trustees began the good work of conserving the iconic, tree-lined entry to Skowhegan along the Kennebec. This mile-long stretch on Route 2 East, with its sweeping old trees framing the road along the riffling water, was pieced together starting in 1927 by some of Skowhegan’s leading citizens - Louise Coburn, niece of Civil War governor Abner Coburn, Bill Philbrick and others. They had the foresight to create what they saw as an unparalleled asset for the town.
Today, the Trustees’ duty to honor, defend and build upon our founders’ early investments leads us to stand in opposition to both of the currently proposed locations for a second bridge in Skowhegan.
“Obviously, we do not want one of our keystone properties negatively impacted by the construction of a second bridge below the Great Eddy. Its natural beauty and serenity was worthy of protection then and, we think, more deserving of it now,” said Jack Gibson, President of the Trustees.
“Creating a second bridge below the Great Eddy, or for that matter, through the Veterans’ Park, does nothing for resolving the perceived traffic problems. Spending millions of dollars to fix a nonexistent problem and at the same time ruin historic properties does not seem wise or beneficial to the town,” Gibson continued.
With so many large projects underway in Skowhegan, from the new school to Run of River, a decision on a new bridge is premature. Somerset Woods Trustees believes it is imperative the town retains control of this project, takes the time to develop a more comprehensive plan, and proceeds with the work of the Village Planning Initiative before deciding to move forward on the development of a second bridge.
Wonderful things are happening in Skowhegan! As the town builds its brand as an outdoor recreation destination, Somerset Woods Trustees looks forward to working collaboratively with the community to put our greenspaces to work strengthening our connections to the river, not destroying them through development.
Somerset Woods Trustees Board of Trustees, February 22, 2022
pc Hannele Lahti