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This week’s edition!

Letter to the Editor:

Maine Turnpike Authority’s plan puts Gorham at risk

I live in Gorham with my husband and our ten month old daughter. I love our town and our community; it has been such a special place to raise our daughter and I can’t wait to continue to watch her grow up here. I feel so lucky to live in Gorham and I’m writing to encourage more of my neighbors to speak up to help protect our beloved community from the Maine Turnpike Authority.

My daughter is the luckiest – she gets to grow up in a community with woods, streams, fields, farms, friends as neighbors, safe streets where she’ll learn how to ride her bike, and sidewalks where she’ll walk to school. I love walking on the trail by our home with her and trying to imagine how she sees it through her eyes: busy with green stuff in summer and crisp with white fluffy stuff in winter.

And I am the luckiest too – I get to ski and hike and ride bikes on trails all over town, buy vegetables and ice cream from local farms and shops in our downtown, and visit beautiful places all over Gorham with my baby – who turns every ordinary walk along a stream or a brook into a delightful, silly adventure. But the turnpike expansion puts that all at risk.

I am terrified of what Gorham will become if the Maine Turnpike Authority wins its fight against our community. The Gorham Divider would be an epic mistake that will change the character of Gorham forever – there will be no coming back from it.

Highways bring more speeding cars. More cars mean more parking lots. gas stations. strip malls. drab office buildings. drive-thrus. asphalt. smog. noise. When you build a highway through a place, it changes that place forever. You can’t ever get back what you lose: whether that’s someone’s home that they built with their bare hands, the 300-year-old family farm that we are fortunate enough to be at today, trout in the brook, quiet fields, or a quiet neighborhood.

Building a highway through Gorham means one thing: we lose Gorham as we know it. It is just not possible to build a turnpike through a rural and residential part of town and have the things we love about it remain. If we build a highway here just like the one at the Maine Mall, our community will look just like…the highway at the Maine Mall. But we already have a mall, and it’s over there, so let’s protect places over here that are special, meaningful, important, and beautiful.

Places matter, and Gorham is our place. What I think is that Gorham is full of families just like mine who also love what we love about this place, and there are many more who want to be here. I am excited about the ways our community is growing, but worried that the wrong kind of growth means more congestion. We have very real transportation challenges, and we need very real solutions. But the Maine Turnpike Authority’s plan is the wrong way to grow; it is a quarter billion dollar mistake that won’t solve our traffic problem, but will forever change this place – our place – for the worse.

Abby King

Gorham resident

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