Martha Kimicki, president of the board of Spirits Alive, presented the non-profit’s Master Plan to a quorum of the city’s planning board at its workshop late yesterday afternoon at city hall. Kimicki is asking for the board’s recommendation to the city council that this Master Plan become part of the city’s overall Comprehensive Plan so that it will be preserved for future generations.
Portland Department of Public Services employee, Troy Moon who participated in the workshop as well, said that incorporating this document into the city’s overhall Comprehensive Plan will “guide the city’s maintenance and treatment of this open space. If we can get the plan adopted, then we can start chipping away at specifics in the plan. This is important for us. It defines how we will care for the property going forward,” he said. Spirits Alive was founded in 2007 to care and advocate for this 6.8 acre parcel through preservation and public education. It’s the oldest cemetery in Portland, dating back to Colonial Days. It’s bordered by Congress Street, Mountfort Street and Federal Street to its south in the East Bayside neighborhood.
Kimicki gave a powerpoint presentation to the board members in the city council chambers. She said the cemetery has undergone 344 years of benign neglect and that 50% of the original headstones remain. The plan cited vandalism in the cemetery and drug activity outside the Cemetery on Congress Street as major issues in is preservation. The plan suggests a zoning change to protect the cemetery from neighborhood and business noise in the area which will continue to deterioriate this historical site. Board member David Silk, pursued this idea suggesting staff review changing the zoning from ROS, recreation open space, to RPZ, reserve protection zone, which is applied to sensitive areas in Portland.
The Master Plan was prepared by: Michael Trinkley, Ph.D. and Debi Hacker of Chicora Foundation, Inc., Box 8664, Columbia, SC 29202 803-787-6910 www.chicora.org
That zoning review will be available at the Planning Board’s next meeting on Tuesday, March 27th, when there will be an opportunity for public comment before going on to the City Council for approval.
For more information, please visit spiritsalive.org