On Wednesday July 12th, members of the YCC Steering Committee offered two open meetings to the neighborhood around the Town-owned wooded parcel behind the West Main Street Schools. The School buildings themselves are on a different lot, but their current occupant TJD&A kindly offered the conference room as a convenient meeting spot. We were thrilled to have 18 neighbors attend.
YCC Co-Chairs Horace Horton, Barbara Horton, and Beth Costello explained the mission of the YCC as an effort by YCAN (Yarmouth Cares about Neighbors) to create a centralized and welcoming multi-generational hub for gatherings and social services, including the Food Pantry, Aging in Place, Medical Loan Closet, Rides Program, and potentially Yarmouth Community Services which is currently in the small building behind Town Hall.
YCC Site Selection subcommittee member Sarah Witte shared a large aerial of the town with five locations currently under consideration. She also described the criteria for site selection, which include proximity to downtown, walkability, cost, compatible neighborhood, safety, visibility, access and parking, and ability to meet ADA requirements.
The five locations, from west to east, are: the West Main site behind the old Ledge Schoolhouse, a portion of the Sligo Road/CMP poleyard, a portion of the Royal River Park at the end of Yarmouth Crossing Drive, the Bickford acreage at Railroad Crossing, and the Bennett Field at Rowe School. All but the Bickford parcel are Town owned. Each site has opportunities and constraints!
A creative and community-spirited discussion ensued. The YCC Steering Committee members took note of the strong and consistent thoughts of the attendees, who made the following points about the West Main Street land:
- It is too small for the proposed building and parking.
- It does not offer room for expansion.
- It is a residential area, and in the Medium Density Residential Zone, which residents enjoy and want to preserve.
- Residents have been heavily impacted by recent development (noise and dust) and are concerned that the traffic from YCC would be unsafe and disruptive.
- The land provides green space and buffer for many people, and is also an ecological resource.
The collective and unanimous voice was heard! Many thanks to all who attended, as we continue to ‘reality test’ our possibilities. Many thanks also to those who spoke positively of the YCC mission, who look forward to using it and even identified themselves as future volunteers.