CUSHING, Maine — Now that local voters have weighed in, the public can be ensured access to a piece of waterfront property that was offered as a gift to the town by Thelma “Terry” Dodge, who died at the age of 92 one day after she purchased the property.
In the annual town meeting earlier this week, residents voted 108-51 to approve Dodge’s gift of 15 acres, historically known as Fales Field, across from the Broad Cove Market.
The parcel, at the head of Broad Cove off River Road and bordered on either side by two inlets, will be named Good Neighbor Park, per Dodge’s request. It is Cushing’s first publicly owned access point to the ocean, Board of Selectmen Chairman Alton Grover said Friday.
From that location, in addition to recreational uses like kayaking and canoeing, it can serve as an access point for clamming, fishing and worming, according to the deed.
The deed also allows for the installation of a gravel parking lot with fewer than 10 parking spaces and other low-impact structures, such as benches, picnic tables, a boat rack, and steps or a ramp to access the shore.
With the voters’ approval on accepting the land, the town now will establish a trust, managed by the Board of Selectmen, to which the public can donate in order to maintain the property.
Dodge and her daughter, Kristi Niedermann, purchased the vacant lot on Nov. 15, the day before Dodge died. Niedermann, an ed tech at the Cushing Community School, saw the deal through in the wake of her mother’s death.
The name, Good Neighbors Park, was chosen by Dodge to recognize the friendship between her parents, whose last name was Wales, and the Fales, who ran the town’s general store for many generations.
Grover, a lifelong resident of Cushing whose mother went to school with Dodge, said there will likely be a sign or plaque erected at some point to honor Dodge and her donation.