With negotiations between the state and a private landowner at an impasse over the lease renewal of 100 acres of the 187-acre Crescent Beach State Park, the Maine State Employees Association has launched an online petition to keep the Scarborough beach in the state's park system.
According to The Forecaster, negotiations have stalled between the state and Sprague Corp., which owns the leased land that includes access to sections of the beach, the parking lot and hiking trails. The MSEA launched the petition campaign to preemptively shut down any consideration of privatizing the beach, which is one of the top five revenue producers in the state park system, according to Mary Anne Turowski, political director of MSEA Local 1989.
Will Harris, director of the Bureau of Parks and Lands, said Crescent Beach generates a big chunk of the daily revenue for the state park system, which is supported by the $7 million state park general fund. Harris said the park has been left out of next year's budget, which must be completed by Sept. 1, even though the lease doesn't expire until April.
The online petition was launched a week ago and has about 460 signatures, Turowski said.