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August 15, 2018

Commission recommends that Portland buy Oat Nuts Park lots

Portland's Land Bank Commission is recommending that the city buy nine lots in and around Oat Nuts Park near the Falmouth town line for $6,400.

The Forecaster reported that owner Stephen Robbins, of East Winthrop, is ready to part with about a third of an acre that's been in his family for a century and is now a part of open space used by Portland Trails. Four lots sit in the middle of Oat Nuts Park; five are at the northwestern edge.

The family acquired the 20-by-50-foot parcels after Boston-based Liberty Pure Food Co., as an early 20th century marketing plan to sell Oatnuts and another cereal, gave them away for five cereal box tabs plus $2 to cover the land transfer, the newspaper reported.

According to documents on the City of Portland's website, the commission recommended the city acquire the lots and have them designated as Land Bank properties to preserve them for the future. Parcels located on the backside of the city-owned Oat Nuts Park are contiguous with both the park and the Presumpscot River Preserve. They are landlocked and undevelopable.

Their acquisition will help preserve the integrity of a drainage course, protect water quality in the river, provide a wooded buffer between the park and adjacent residences and generally enhance the quality of these very popular open spaces, according to the documents.

Parcels located and landlocked within Oat Nuts Park are lightly wooded lots, including areas of mapped wetlands, are located just off of the popular walking trail between Summit Street and the Presumpscot River Preserve. Acquisition of those lots would help protect wetlands associated with a tributary stream flowing to the Presumpscot River and provide the city with clear title to this land within the park.

The purchase price is $6,385 to be paid from Land Bank Commission funds. The appraised value of the properties $8,700.

According to the commission's website, it is responsible for identifying and protecting open space resources within the city, and seeks to preserve a balance between development and conservation of open space important for wildlife, ecological, environmental, scenic or outdoor recreational values.

Its responsibilities include:

  • Working for the acquisition and conservation of open space within the city
  • Recommending to the City Council on a priority basis acquisition or conservation of significant properties
  • Pursuit of gifts and funds from private and public sources for the acquisition of open space as approved by the City Council

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