Belgrade voters will vote on accepting a gift of nearly half a million dollars to pay for pedestrian lighting and better sidewalk materials to be installed by the state when it rebuilds the main road through the village.

The secret ballot vote is set for March 17 as part of the annual Town Meeting, which continues on March 18.

The Board of Selectpersons voted last week to put the article on the ballot.

“The law clearly stated that it had to go to the town,” said Michael Barrett, selectmen’s chairman.

He said there was some question about whether it had been approved previously, but the town’s attorney recommended it should go to a vote as part of the Town Meeting.

Barrett said selectmen wanted to be clear that there is no cost to taxpayers.

“This is a gift,” he said. “The concern is that the average person is not going to know what is going on and not realize this is a gift.”

Here is the text of the article:

“To see if the Town will vote, by secret ballot, to accept a conditional gift of funds from the Friends of Belgrade Lakes Village, a nonprofit corporation, for the purpose of funding sidewalks and pedestrian lighting for the 2018 road construction of Route 27 (Maine DOT Highway Reconstruction Project #018253.00) in the amount of approximately $495,873, to accept additional funds in the future for necessary maintenance of such improvements, to establish a Route 27 Enhancement Escrow account to hold these donated funds, and to appropriate and spend such funds for the purposes described herein.”

The Friends group conducted the fundraising campaign and, according to a posting on its Facebook page, had hoped to have the question addressed on the floor during the business portion of the annual Town Meeting so any questions could be answered.

The state’s reconstruction of about a half mile of Main Street where it runs through the village is to take place in 2018 although the state has said it will suspend the work during the busy tourist season of July and August.

The state has estimated its cost at just under $2.7 million, including preliminary engineering, right of way, construction and inspection work.

Diane Oliver, an owner of Day’s Store and a member of the board of directors of the Friends group, noted previously that the initial money raised through grants, foundations and pledges “is phase one of a $1.5 million campaign that also includes an off-street parking lot and public restrooms.”

The group said contributions came from “generous summer residents as well as year-round residents, not only from Belgrade, but from surrounding communities like Rome and Oakland.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams