Community Newsletter

Issue #342

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In this Issue:
Photo: Ally Bonville

Upcoming City Council Meetings

Tuesday, September 5 at 6:30 PM - City Council Meeting
Tuesday, September 12 at 6:30 PM - City Council Workshop

See the City Calendar for all scheduled City Council and board meetings + locations/links to participate. All agendas and packet material can be found on BoardDocs. This material will be posted by 4:30 PM on Friday the week prior to the scheduled meeting. See summaries of past Council meetings here.

Take Our Communications Survey!

Complete our 5-minute survey! Your input will help shape how the City communicates and the material we share! Tell us what information you're most interested in, what you're looking for in the City's new website (currently in development), and more.

Online Services

Did you know that you can request an absentee ballot, renew your car registration, request a vital record like a birth certificate, and more online 24-7? Click here to see the City's list of available online services.

November Election Updates

Return nomination papers by September 8. Nomination papers must be returned to City Hall by 4:30 PM on September 8. See offices up for election and learn more here.

Request your absentee ballot now! You can request your absentee ballot for the November 7, 2023 State Referendum & Municipal General Election now. Any registered voter may vote absentee (no reason required).

3 ways to request your ballot:

1. ONLINE here.

2. CALL the City Clerk’s office at (207) 767-3201. We must speak to the voter requesting their ballot.

3. SUBMIT a paper application (available here) via fax, mail, or drop off at City Clerk’s office.

When ballots arrive (around October 8), the Clerk's office will mail you your ballot. In-person absentee voting will begin at City Hall starting October 8. 

Comp Plan: What's Next?

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our Comprehensive Plan process so far! You've submitted over 1,600 ideas and comments and joined us at over 40 events in the community this summer! 

More opportunities to help shape the future of South Portland are on the way. Visit the Comp Plan website for details and more events coming this fall.
Learn more at southportland2040.com.

Willard Beach Updates

Here's some important information about Willard Beach:

1. Know Before You Go - Like many Maine beaches, Willard Beach has been seeing high fecal bacteria counts in the water this summer following heavy rains. There is currently a Contamination Advisory (water contact not advised) at Willard that will be in place at least until 4 PM on Sunday, September 3.

When planning your beach trip, visit Check Beach Status at www.mainehealthybeaches.org and look for the signage and green-yellow-orange-red flag system at the main entrance of the beach. To read the full “Know Before You Go” post from Parks, Recreation and Waterfront, click here.

2. Tips for a Safe Beach Day - When arriving at the beach, we encourage visitors to look for the water quality flag at the main entrance. If it is yellow or orange, contact with the water is not advised. If it’s green, then it’s safe for swimming. Please avoid swimming or playing near the stormwater outfall, since it sometimes contains elevated bacteria levels. New outfall signage is on the way.

3. Willard Beach Watershed Assessment - What challenges do wet weather, the built environment, and other factors pose to swimming water quality? What steps is the City taking to ensure the beach remains safe and swimmable? Learn the answers to these and more questions in South Portland Water Resource Protection's concise new Willard Beach Watershed Assessment Efforts summary here, where you can also find links to water quality test results.

4. Willard Beach Master Plan - The City Council appointed the Willard Beach Master Plan Committee in 2019 to develop comprehensive recommendations for preserving and improving the beach. The recommendations address water quality, infrastructure, and more. The plan was presented to and adopted by City Council in June of this year, and the City is already putting it into action. The Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department recently issued a Request for Proposals to update signage at the beach, including the installation of permanent signs to keep visitors well informed on beach trips! Check out the Willard Beach Master Plan.

It's Back to School: Drive Safely!

School is back in session, and the South Portland Police Department reminds you to exercise caution while sharing the road with school buses and while students travel to and from school! In addition, please be patient as students, parents, teachers, and fellow South Portlanders learn to navigate South Portland’s brand new middle school and the surrounding area. It is a learning process for all.
  • Drive slowly
  • Be mindful of students walking and crossing roads
  • Give school buses plenty of space
  • Always stop while the school bus stop sign is up
  • Never go around a bus
  • Keep your eyes on the road
Thank you for helping us keep South Portland school kids safe!

Above, Sgt. Howard, SRO Gray, SRO Le, Ofc. Nelson, and Traffic Specialist Navarro proudly stand in front of the new South Portland Middle School. You can also see the new extended safety gate that has been added to many of the school buses. Children first!

Mahoney Building Update

Wondering what will happen to the Mahoney building now that the new state-of-the-art South Portland Middle School is welcoming students? The Mahoney building is coming into the City’s possession. The City is currently undergoing a facilities assessment, as a number of municipal buildings are in need of repair and/or lack adequate space. There is a consideration to consolidate some City offices that are currently housed in several different buildings into the Mahoney building. However, the City must wait until the assessment is complete, and ultimately Council will need to vote on what the City does with this property.

South Portland Farmer's Market

Have you visited the South Portland Farmers' Market lately? The market offers locally grown fruit, vegetables, beef/dairy products and baked goods. Visit the Farmers' Market on Sundays from 10 AM to 2 PM in the parking lot behind the Municipal Building and Transit Center in Knightville. From Nov 5-April 28, the market is held at the Planning and Development Building at 829 Sawyer St. (on the corner of Ocean St.). 

Age Friendly Resource Fair

The Age Friendly Resource Fair will be held on Friday, September 22 from 9 AM - 12 PM at the South Portland Community Center. Watch this video message from members of Age Friendly South Portland about the event, which includes:
  • Over 40 vendors including Physical Therapists, Estate Attorneys, and Home and Hospice Care Professionals
  • Balance Assessments by Maine Strong Balance Center
  • Blood Pressure Checks by the South Portland Fire Department
  • Raffles, give aways and more!
Watch this newsletter for more information about the event.

Upcoming Events

Join us on the evening of Wednesday, September 6 for the Bug Light Car Show! The annual show draws over 250 unique and antique vehicles. Bring your vehicle or just peruse others! We'll have music playing and food trucks on hand for dinner.
For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

This month is National Falls Prevention Awareness Month, and the Southern Maine Agency on Aging is hosting a number of classes. To learn more and sign up, visit the link below.

City News & Updates

THANK YOU to South Portland Bus Service driver John Chambers! John was driving bus 24B at the Mall earlier this week when he noticed a car on fire. He sprang to action with his on-board fire extinguisher and put it out. A mall manager then called the fire department, and John hopped back in the driver's seat of the bus to keep it moving and get riders where they needed to be without delay. Now that's going the extra mile!

Work With Us!

Join our team! The City of South Portland offers competitive pay and a robust selection of employee benefits, including an excellent health plan with affordable family coverage, matched retirement options, dental, vision, life, income protection, long term disability, flexible spending accounts, a condensed workweek for many positions, and more!

The City is proud of its talented and dedicated workforce and provides employees with a strong team environment; stability; a positive, family-friendly workplace where work/life needs are valued and supported; and the support, encouragement and tools for successful careers. 

The City values diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and embraces sustainable operations. Consider a job with the City of South Portland!

Coming Up at the Library

The South Portland Library regularly holds fun and engaging events for all ages. Check out books...and all the library has to offer!
School starts next week! It's an exciting year with the opening of the brand new South Portland Middle School. Stay up-to-date with SPSD news, School Board meetings, sporting events and more at: https://www.spsd.org/

Calling all SPHS Red Riots Alumni!
SPHS Alumni are welcome to join the new SPHS Alumni Network! This will allow alumni to reconnect with our schools, be invited to more events on campus, and be able to share life experiences with current students through career exploration activities.  SPHS Alumni can sign up here, or reach out to Gretchen McCloy (mccloygr@spsdme.org) or Bryna Latham (lathambr@spsdme.org) for more info.  

Conservation Corner

Submitted by Barbara Dee, Chair of the Conservation Commission
Hello, my name is Shara Dee and I'm very happy to serve as the City of South Portland's Communications Officer!

I'd love to hear your feedback on our newsletter and other City communications, so feel free to send me a note any time at news@southportland.org.
The City of South Portland Community E-Newsletter includes information about City sponsored events, projects, and special announcements from South Portland's non-profit community. It is a compilation of the best available information at the time of publication. Events are subject to change without notice in the time between publication of this e-newsletter and the actual event. To send information to be considered for inclusion into this newsletter, send to news@southportland.org.
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