A modern day conflict is brewing in South Portland.  It's green space vs. commercial development.

Sandra Harris

On the corner of Westbrook Street and Main Street in South Portland, there's a large field of grass with a border of trees.  It's not a well used green space.  You see the occasional dog being walked or kids playing ball. The public space abuts the beautifully landscaped Congregation Bet Ha'am. The building is the old Sawyer School that has been refurbished with an exquisite addition.

In 2005, the congregation offered to buy the corner space.  But, South Portland city councilors claimed to have had plans to create a city park in the future.  It never happened and now, the city is proposing to allow commercial development of the space.  A six story building would be allowed under the new proposal. The synagogue and neighbors aren't pleased.  Sound similar to the dispute in Portland over Congress Square Park?

Congregation Bet Ha'am is hosting an informational meeting on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at 6 p.m. All are welcome.  The South Portland Planning Board will hold it's next meeting on July 8.

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Sandra Harris