SKOWHEGAN — Selectmen moved along plans for expansion Tuesday night at the town’s Community Center and recreation fields, allowing Parks and Recreation Director Denise LeBlanc to seek bids for work to widen a section of U.S. Route 2 for a bypass lane for safe access to new facilities.

The plan is for an extra travel lane that would carry traffic straight through and past the new vehicle access point on Meadow View Drive

Selectmen approved the plan 5-0 with no discussion.

LeBlanc said the expansion project — in the works since 2006 — would add a “go by” travel lane on the right hand side of the roadway, beginning at Keys Motel and extending to the existing travel lane near the high school. The left lane would have a turning arrow painted on the pavement for visitors into the complex and will have a crosswalk.

Construction work should get started, with approval by the Board of Selectmen, early next year, she said, at a cost of about $100,000, including work by Plymouth Engineering.

“That is part of the 2006 permit for the new ballfield expansion — a permit with the Department of Transportation — that was approved way back,” LeBlanc said. “We’re expanding our parking lot and it’s required by DOT because of the traffic study, the traffic flow, and our limited parking up here at the Community Center. We don’t have enough parking as it is with the traffic flow and all the stuff going on here.”

The cost to the town already has been approved at Town Meeting.

The expansion, on land between the high school and the existing recreation center property, will include 100 new parking spots, relocation of the maintenance garage, a concession and storage building at the football complex, new soccer fields, field hockey and multi-use fields, an adult softball field and a trail to the high school.

The existing complex includes the large Community Center and department offices, a community playground, the Carl Wright Baseball Complex, and an outdoor skate park, basketball court and winter ice skating rink.

The ice skating rink was moved last year from the fairgrounds and will remain at the Community Center, LeBlanc said.

“It’s a whole new expansion, which is needed with the growth of our programs here,” she said, adding the Recreation Department now has five employees.

In other business Tuesday night, selectmen voted to accept $10,512 in a 2018 Homeland Security grant for the Skowhegan Fire Department and $8,595 for the Police Department. There is no local matching grant.

Fire Chief Shawn Howard said the money will be used to outfit firefighters with nine sets of ballistic armor for use in emergency situations. He said other states have been protecting firefighters with body armor for years. Selectmen agreed, 5-0.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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