LINCOLNVILLE, Maine — Coastal Route 1 in Lincolnville, just south of the Northport town line, was busy on a recent rainy morning as cars and trucks zoomed loudly by.
But just a short walk away from the road was something of an oasis: a 4-acre parcel of oceanfront property that has been offered as a swap to the town by the Coastal Mountains Land Trust in exchange for 68 wooded inland acres on the Ducktrap River.
“It’s beautiful,” David Kinney, the Lincolnville town administrator, said of the park, which has 426 feet of shore frontage. “The selectmen are supportive. The administrators are supportive. The price is right.”
However, he is not sure if many Lincolnville voters are aware that they will be casting ballots later this month on the proposed swap.
“I don’t know if it’s even on people’s radar screens,” Kinney said. “We’d like people to know what they’re voting on and what an opportunity it is. We’d like to get people to wander around next week to make their own judgments.”
There will be two open houses at the park, located at 2817 Atlantic Highway: one from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 9, and another from 9 a.m. to noon on July 11.
The pandemic has stopped business as usual in the town. Rather than the annual in-person town meeting, with lots of time for debate and discussion, residents will now vote by referendum on all town business — including the swap.
People can vote in advance or between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. July 14 at Lincolnville Central School.
Those who do wander over to the park for one of the open houses will find green lawns, a volleyball court, picnic areas with fireplaces and a path down to a stone beach, bathrooms and more.
The property, formerly called Penobscot Park, had once been used by MBNA to hold cookouts and gatherings. The private park remained associated with Point Lookout, the corporate retreat in nearby Northport, but the retreat’s owners transferred the 4-acre parcel in March to the Coastal Mountains Land Trust.
“We thought it was a great opportunity to open the property for public use,” Heather Rogers, the land protection program manager at the land trust, said.
Lincolnville owns the wooded parcel that the land trust would like in exchange for the park, Kinney said. The land trust would continue to allow passive recreation there.
“It really feels like a win-win for everybody,” Rogers said.
If the town votes to accept the park, there will be maintenance costs, Kinney said. The article residents will vote on July 14 includes appropriating a sum of $13,700 toward those costs.
“Put some effort and work parties into it, and you could make this a really good town park,” Kinney said.