CHINA — Selectmen are trying to figure out what steps need to be taken first in plans to improve Thurston Park, the nearly 400-acre recreational area in the northeastern part of town.

William Seekins, chairman of the Thurston Park II Committee, said group members would like to carry out two projects: for this summer, rebuilding the north access road from Albion into the park; and for next winter, a selective timber harvest.

The timber harvest, based on a plan prepared by Albion forester Vite Vitale, needs to start by hiring Vitale or another qualified person to choose the trees to be cut.

Until either the committee conducts successful fundraising or the timber is harvested, there is no money to pay the forester to prepare for the harvest.

Nor is there money for material for the road work, Seekins said. The National Guard is ready to do the work this summer, if the town will provide materials.

The park contains gravel deposits that might be of the right quality to improve the road, but selectmen are not sure anyone can get to the gravel until after the road is improved.

In November, voters approved $2,000 as seed money for the committee’s fundraising projects. Seekins said $360 was spent for a road plan from Kennebec County Soil and Water Commission, “so we’d know what we’re fundraising for.”

But the first tentatively planned fundraiser might have to be canceled because the sponsor has health problems, he said.

Board member Joann Austin added another complication: if the road is rebuilt this summer and the timber harvest is conducted next winter, the heavy logging trucks might damage the new road.

Board Chairman Peter Foote asked Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux to get cost estimates for choosing which trees to cut.

The Thurston Park II Committee applied for a federally funded grant in December to help build trails in the park, but Seekins said there will be no federal trails money for Maine this year because of a funding formula error. China’s and other Maine applications are being held over in case there’s money available in 2013, Seekins said.

In other business Monday, L’Heureux announced two events for Saturday, April 28. The drug take-back program for disposal of outdated or unneeded prescription medication will be at the transfer station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. China’s annual Earth Day roadside cleanup will be in the morning.

Volunteers are needed for the cleanup, especially in the south end of town, he said. Interested people should contact L’Heureux at the Town Office at 445-2014.

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