China’s Thurston Park group to ask for TIF funds

Thurston Park in the winter (photo from Thurston Park Facebook page)

by Mary Grow

Four members of China’s Thurston Park Committee spent most of their Jan. 19 meeting talking about money, both the 2023-24 budget and the long-term future of the almost 400-acre public park in northeastern China.

As in past years, committee members intend to ask for money from China’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) fund, as well as from the 2023-24 municipal budget.

Committee chairman Jeanette Smith said the proposed TIF request totals $44,000. Minutes of the committee’s November 2022 meeting show that planned expenditures include buying a utility vehicle that would be used to move equipment and supplies (like gravel); preparing a new trail; and building kiosks, installing more cameras and preparing trail maps.

The TIF Committee meeting scheduled for January to review requests was canceled due to members’ illnesses. The calendar on the town website shows the next TIF meeting scheduled for 6 p.m.. Wednesday, Feb. 8, in the portable building behind the town office.

Funds requested from the China municipal budget would cover work on the entrance road from Albion and supplies.

The park has more than five miles of trails that need maintenance. Several have been or are being built or improved as Eagle Scout projects. Committee members talked about damage from storms that have taken down trees and washed out trails.

Committee members are investigating grants that might be available for work in the park. Smith is concerned about funding sources when China’s TIF ends in 26 years. In reply to a suggestion to research other towns’ park financing, she said few if any other Maine towns support so large a natural area.

Another suggestion was to try to find out how many people, from China and from out of town, use Thurston Park, as an indicator of its value to townspeople and local businesses. The cameras in place and to be installed will help, committee members said. They doubted enough visitors would sign a logbook to make it informative.

Thurston Park has multiple listings on the worldwide web; it is included on the sites called and

Despite the Dec. 23 damage, on Jan. 23 Smith said the park is open for winter use, though she urged caution.

Parking is at the top of the Yorktown Road hill on the left, or in the new winter parking area at the bottom of the hill, also on the left, Smith said.

Residents interested in joining the Thurston Park Committee are invited to contact the town office or to email

The next Thurston Park Committee meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 16, in the portable building.


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