Town looking for creative ideas to reopen beleagured beach | News

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Town looking for creative ideas to reopen beleagured beach

RAYMOND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Officials in the town of Raymond are seeking proposals from the public to help them reopen their beleagured beach.

The beach on Sebago Lake was closed for a variety of issues last summer.  Water quality tests showed high levels of E-coli due to the heat, as well as animal and human waste.  Warm temperatures also drove up the number of users, many of whom failed to clean-up after themselves, leaving behind piles of trash.

"This is an experiment," said Raymond Town Manager Don Willard.  "We are going to see if the private sector has a better idea."

The town is looking for people interested in operating the beach as a private, for-profit enterprise.

"We are hoping that the public can get creative and make a go of it here and allow access to the beach and the lake," said town code enforcement officer Chris Hanson.  "It would be good for the town and the surrounding communities."

Hanson says aside from maintaining the beach and controlling the available parking, they would be open to allowing someone to open a seasonal hot dog stand, or put floats in and rent boats and kayaks.

"Any idea, anything that is an allowed use, we would entertain that,"added Hanson.  "It is a highly visible beach [with] easy access.  There is ample parking for the number of swimmers here."

Town officials are reluctant to charge people to use what is essentially the last remaining free beach on the lake, but the abuse the area saw last year has them looking at all their options.

"We haven't set our direction yet.  We are just putting it out to see if the free market has a better idea on how to manage this," explained Willard. 

Willard says as things stand now, their only other options are to add staff and use taxpayer money to better police the grounds and monitor the beach's usage or close it for good.

"We are trying to be entrepreneurial.  We are trying to be innovative.  We are trying to do things in a different way," he said.  "This is not the time for the growth of government."

The town manages the adjacent boat launch through an agreement with the state.  It would remain free to use and open to the public.

If you would like more information, you can find the town's request for proposals on the town of Raymond's website.



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