BELFAST — The City Council directed the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to take apart a sign for Wales Park because the council is opposed to its initial placement and wording

The matter was considered during the council’s July 5 meeting, after Mayor Eric Sanders asked to have the matter placed on the agenda because he had received several objections to the sign.

During the council’s June 21 meeting, Sanders said he took offense to the name being listed on the sign as Wales Park and Community Garden because that is not the name of the park. He said he views the naming of parks seriously. He said he would have liked to have known about signage being put up that has a different name for the park.

During the June 21 meeting, Councilor Neal Harkness said his concern was that the matter was not brought before the council and that the council recently went through a discussion of signage for El Depot Park. Councilor Brenda Bonneville agreed that the matter should have been brought before the council.

During the July 5 meeting, Sanders again reiterated that he took offense that the council was not asked about the sign.

Parks and Recreation Director Norm Poirier gave the council a brief history of the new sign. He said last year when the walkway project went into place, staff removed the old sign as it was rotting and decayed. He said the decision was made to replace the sign and that the department has a designer who makes the signs for them. Poirier said the community garden committee wanted to be identified on the sign.

Poirier said a decision was made to have one sign instead of two signs in different places. To differentiate between the park’s name and the community garden, the words “Community Garden” appeared in a smaller font. Poirier said he assumed that this sign would be proper and appropriate.

Poirier suggested, if the council wanted to change the sign, to cut off the community garden portion at the bottom of the sign and move it down the post so that it would be separated from the portion that reads “Wales Park.” He said the proposed solution would be the cheapest solution.

Bonneville said part of the problem with the new sign is that the city’s protocol was not followed. She said the normal protocol is that an “ask” is made, then it is discussed and then the green light is given. She said the city should also consider consistency in its signage. She said she didn’t think cutting the sign and placing it on the same post was a good idea in light of being consistent.

Harkness said he thought putting the community garden portion lower on the sign would be consistent with what the city did with El Depot park. He said part of the problem with the current sign is that someone who is not familiar with the name of the park might think Wales Park is the name of the community garden.

Councilor Paul Dean said he liked the idea of getting separation between the Wales Park portion of the sign and the community garden portion. Councilor Michael Hurley also said he liked the idea of separating the sign into two and lowering the community garden portion of the sign.

Poirier also suggested that the community garden portion of the sign could be moved to an area closer to the community garden, and Councilor Mary Mortier said she preferred this approach.

Allowed to speak on behalf of the Garden Committee, Scott Hess said he thought the original sign was beautiful. He told the council that a lot of folks don’t realize the park is called Wales Park. He agreed with the council that a standard should exist for park signage.

Ultimately, after some further discussion, Bonneville moved to cut the sign and place the community garden portion closer to the community garden in an appropriate location. The motion was approved 5-0.

In other matters before the council:

  • The council unanimously approved three appointments within the Fire and Ambulance Department including one per diem firefighter/emergency medical technician, Andrew Willigar; and two per diem EMTs, Karagen Stone and Lottie Rolfe.
  • The council unanimously approved accepting the second installment of American Rescue Plan funds in the amount of $353,113.75.
  • After a presentation from John Monroe with North Star Adventures, the council unanimously approved a request from Harbormaster Katherine Given to enter into a commercial contract with North Star to operate a guided kayak tour business from Belfast City Landing. A commercial contract with the city is currently $300 per season. Monroe said the plan is to have tours only when there are reservations and he expects to have no more than six kayakers at a time.
  • The council unanimously approved a request from Cemetery Superintendent Leigh Wilcox to designate a spot within Grove Cemetery for a columbarium. Wilcox said the columbarium would be for cremation burials and consists of a stand-up monument with notches inside to place urns. He said the model he has been looking at contains 96 notches which could each house two urns.
  • The council approved three requests from Airport Manager Ken Ortmann. The first was to replace current light elements with LED fixtures. The second was to authorize funding for $3,766 for earthwork between the fuel farm concrete pad and the ramp at the municipal airport, and the third was to authorize the use of granite stone blocks currently stored on airport property as barriers for the airport’s fuel farm installation.
  • The council also accepted and awarded bids for two Parks and Recreation trucks. The bid on a 2007 Chevy pickup truck was awarded to Rick Melone of Northport for $1,275 and the 2008 Chevy Silverado was awarded to Dan Ford of Hope for $1,210.