Bath Council could try to keep part of abandoned Liberty Street
Bath Town Council held a sparsely-attended public hearing on February 20 about the proposed ordinance to abandon the unpaved portion of Liberty Street next to St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.
Involved is the grassy slope, sidewalk and stairs that run from the end of the paved street in front of the church up to Mercer Street.
The church wants the land to replace the green space they have lost due to the ongoing construction of the new addition.
Some concerns had been expressed by Dean Maxwell at the council's February 5 meeting. Speaking for those who live on the hillside above Liberty Street, Maxwell was concerned about losing access to the steps leading down from Mercer Street. He said he and his neighbors regularly use the steps as a pathway to the park and Washington Street.
No one from the neighborhood attended the February 20 hearing, but Frank Subasic, Andy Jurick and Attorney Bill Harmison represented St. Vincent de Paul.
Harmison said the church has no intention to build anything
or put any structures there. "They just want to garden, pretty it up and make it look nice," he said.
He added that if the town wanted to keep an easement for the steps and sidewalk, the church would have no objection.
"We have in our contract for snowplowing, for example, that we keep those steps clean. It relieves the town of that burden," Jurick said.
"We have maintained it, at our own expense, for the benefit of the town," he said.
"We want to keep a continuation of what's there now," Subasic said.
Councilman David Crosby asked if they would put that in writing.
"It's pretty hard to build something on 3,700 square feet," Subasic said.
Referring to the new church addition, Subasic said, "We already found out how expensive it is to build in that flood plain area."
Harmison saw no problem if the town wanted to require that the lot remains unimproved.
"We don't have current plans other than a continuation of what we have," Subasic said.
Jeanne Mozier, who was at the meeting, agreed with Crosby.
"I think the town ought to have something in writing that says it's going to stay green. It doesn't matter what people say is going to happen now, 10 years from now, or even 25 years from now. We are already dealing with streets that are 250 years old," she said.
Town Recorder Garnet Marsh asked if they could add a provision to the proposed ordinance that the lot remains green space and bring it up for a vote at the next meeting.
"I am a little reluctant to speak for the diocese on what they will do 25 years from now. But our track record to date, without any requests for cost reimbursement from the town, has been to keep it an effective, attractive green space," Subasic said.
Councilman Kenny Easton said the council could amend the draft ordinance in front of them if they choose to. Crosby said he would look into an amendment.
Mayor Susan Webster asked Town Clerk Margie Allgyer to put the ordinance on the agenda for a vote at the next meeting.