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The WNA Newsletter is published three times a year.  You can look for new issues online in February, June, and October.

~ Current  Newsletter  Pending ~

Previous Newsletter Below

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Message From the President

Greetings to all our neighbors in the Willard area.  I am extremely proud to be the President of the Willard Neighborhood Association.  Our members and officers are a diverse and richly talented group of individuals and we would welcome you to join with us and share your talents as well. This Association has over the years had an effect at both the local and state levels. Our efforts have produced revised zoning laws and procedures and have even affected the way the Maine Supreme Court handles its appeals.


Currently we are engaged in developing the Willard Neighborhood Plan, which we hope will become integrated in South Portland’s Comprehensive Plan. We have looked at our neighborhood and listened to our neighbors who generously took the time to share their visions and concerns with us. We had an extremely dedicated and hardworking group of individuals who nursed this process for years and we are very excited about working with the South Portland City Council and Planning Board to put it into effect.


Our monthly meetings provide an opportunity for people to voice their concerns about the neighborhood and join with others to create solutions.  The meetings are also a place where visionaries can share their dreams and recruit “stakeholders” to turn those dreams into reality.  We provide a place where developers can present their projects and get input from the neighbors.  Finally, we provide a place where representatives of local and state government can share things that may concern us and listen to our responses.


We want to preserve, protect and improve the Willard Neighborhood so that it continues to reflect the character and values that many of us grew up with which have attracted others to join us here.  We want to create a place where people can enjoy working, living, retiring and raising children.


We invite you to become members of the Willard Neighborhood Association. We need your special talents and capacities and we want to hear your voice.  Please join us and help to keep the Willard Neighborhood a great place to live!


Barry L. Wilson, President

Willard Neighborhood Association



Project Plan Report

In 1999, the city made 4 recommendations as part of their comprehensive plan, called Project PLAN.  One of those recommendations was that neighborhoods within the city complete their own “Project PLAN”.  These neighborhood plans, along with the work done on the South Portland Open Space Plan of 2001, would help the city shape an appropriate comprehensive development plan for the whole city.

WNA appointed a Master Plan Committee to spearhead the project and we thank them for their impressive work.  The committee was co-chaired by Benita Russo and Joan Uraneck.  Members were Merle Broberg, Sally Groupp, and Jean Heath.  Alan Brewer, Jonathan Spence, and Doug Uraneck were members early on.  City Site Planner, Jim Gailey; City Manager, Jeffrey Jordan; Mayors, William Dale and Ralph Baxter; Planning Director, Tex Haeuser; Public Works Director, Steve Johnson; City Arborist, John Switzer; and Waterfront & Transportation Director, Tom Meyers all provided guidance to the project.

The last Project Plan public meeting was held on Thursday, March 18th at the Betsy Ross House.  Members of the Project Plan Committee presented the Willard Neighborhood Plan which includes a vision statement, findings report and recommendations.  Elements of this plan grew out of the WNA Vision Statement, neighborhood surveys and the four public meetings.

The Vision Statement:

We envision the Willard Neighborhood (WN) as a place where:

·         Neighbors are encouraged to know one another, to celebrate together and to join in making decisions about the future of the community;

·         The scenic beauty and sensitive environment of Willard Beach is protected and improved through appropriate and dutiful maintenance;

·         People value the safety and education of children, and welcome residents of all ages, incomes and cultures;

·         Appropriate neighborhood-scaled businesses are encouraged;

·         The quality, quantity, and scale of any future residential development is compatible with the neighborhood; and

·         Public open space is appreciated and preserved.


Prioritized Plan Goals:

1.       Retain Residential Streetscape

2.       Explore Opportunities for Growth

3.       Explore Relations Between WN & SMCC

4.       Preserve and Enhance Open Space

5.       Preserve the Spring Point Shoreway

6.       Promote Small Business Opportunities

7.       Develop Social & Cultural Opportunities


Interesting Neighborhood Facts:

Neighborhood Land Use

·         977 Residential Units

·         15 Commercial Properties

·         10 City-owned

·         23 State/US Govt

·         5 Nonprofit Properties

·         36 Vacant Lots

·         1 Hose Co.


Survey Summary

Of respondents to the questions,

·         97% said that WN was a safe neighborhood in which to live

·         67% have lived or done business in WN for more than five years

·         58% use the beach at least twice a week

·         9% consider the beach to be very well maintained and a majority felt it was adequately maintained

·         66% said that available parking is adequate

·         33% said there are not enough affordable homes, 31% said there is a sufficient number, and 35% were not sure

·         90% believe that dense developments are not desirable, yet 28% would like to see more apartments, single family homes or cluster developments

·         72% responded favorably regulations that would preserve water views

·         WN improvement ideas were, in order of popularity, heavy item pickup, mom & pop store, coffee shop, retain dead-end streets, cultural events at Fisherman’s Point, boat & Kayak rentals, ice cream shop, more playgrounds, beach beautification, sidewalk and crosswalk installation, public art and sculpture, definition of a neighborhood center, Willard Square Roundabout, more open space, more street trees


Next Steps:

A public meeting with the Planning Board, and two workshops with the City Council will be scheduled as the next steps for adding the Willard Neighborhood Plan to the comprehensive plan for South Portland.  The Willard Neighborhood Plan will be available for review at the South Portland Public Library



Entrances to Willard Beach Get Face-Lifts

WNA’s Beach Committee, following the recommendations set out in the Willard Beach Research and Management Guide, has begun to work with the City to make improvements to the beach entrances.  Regular visitors to the beach have noticed the installation of walkways and winter “snow” fencing to direct foot traffic and keep as much sand as possible from blowing up the streets.

As the weather improves, more plantings and fertilization will happen to enhance the natural vegetation and support dune formation.  If you like to plant, weed or hang out at the beach supervising others planting, weeding, etc., contact Theresa Wiper at twiper@gwi.net or 767-1160 to get involved.

The Full report, including a very useful reference section titled, “Who To Call”, is posted on the website of the Willard Neighborhood Association at,  http://www.willardneighborhood.org/beach_resource_guide.htm.  A hard copy of the report is also available at the South Portland Public Library.


SMCC Beach Profiling Update

SMCC’s Marine Sciences program took over the Willard Beach Profiling Studies last year relieving volunteers of their monthly measuring duties while providing more complete and accurate data with the help of the latest surveying technology.

The Willard Beach Profiling Project is a long-term data collection program that will enable state geologists to determine how the beach is changing and if Willard Beach has a serious sand erosion problem.  It will also provide valuable data on the front and back dune areas of the beach and help scientists to recommend ‘best practices’ for maintaining this exceptional natural resource.

Willard Square Update

Four alternatives plans for the redesign of Willard Square are currently being considered:

  1. Do nothing — leave as is;
  2. Roundabout;
  3. “Tee” Pillsbury into Preble;
  4. “Tee” South Preble into Preble-Pillsbury.

Tex Haeuser, Planning Director for South Portland, presented visual representations the above options to the March 18th meeting of the Willard Neighborhood Association.  These representations were created based on suggestions by community members and as discussed at previous meetings of WNA.

The WNA requested that the volunteer engineer, Steve Bushey, take the roundabout and the two tee options to the next stage of refinement, keeping in mind the issues identified by the group – parking for business, character of the square, pedestrian safety, and traffic flow.  It is hoped that a clearer choice among the alternatives will emerge. 


SMCC to Undertake New Master Plan

SMCC is currently involved in updating their Master Plan which was last done in 1990.  The purpose of this plan update is to lay the groundwork for where the campus facilities need to go and how they need to be improved in the next 5 to 10 years.

In February, a community forum was held to introduce the project.  Input from this forum and two campus forums were used to develop short and long term plans for the college.  Another community forum will be held mid-May.  Preliminary plans will be presented and the community will be encouraged to respond.

SMCC is very interested in remaining a good Willard Neighbor and wants residents’ participation in this important planning process.  Please contact Jamie Brown at Mohr & Seredin, 871-0003, for more information.


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