The town of Penobscot could be getting a new cemetery, if plans for a nearly 200 acre purchase go as planned.
Voters at last week’s Penobscot town meeting authorized the town to move forward with the purchase of wooded, undeveloped land from Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Most of the 192 acres of land on Western County Road, which also has several areas of wetland, would be under permanent conservation restrictions to prevent development, but 48 acres could be developed by the town, said Harold Hatch, the Board of Selectmen chairman.
The article was overwhelmingly approved by approximately 90 voters at a town meeting on March 8, allowing the town to forge ahead with buying the property for $101,000. Hatch suspected the process to finalize the sale would begin in the next few weeks.
The town has options for the unconserved portion of the land, Hatch said. It could become a new cemetery or could be the site of a new town building, depending on town needs.
The existing town cemetery has been running out of space and down to only a couple of open plots for the last several years.
“It’s been six or seven years I’m guessing that there’s been minimal amounts available,” Hatch said.
Hatch noted that there were no set plans for development because the town was focused on acquiring the land first.
“Nothing’s concrete at this point,” he said. “We’ll get over there as soon as the ground dries out.”
A post on the town’s website about the town meeting article raised the possibility of using the land for a community center, library or fitness trail.
The remaining 144 acres would be open to uses such as forestry and hunting, according to the town, and the Downeast Salmon Federation will hold a right of way on the property to allow for ongoing access to a fish run on the land.
This property will by far be the largest town-owned property in Penobscot, Hatch said.