PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Portland residents are voting in a referendum to decide the fate of a half-acre park that has sparked a city-wide debate about the city’s commitment to open spaces.
The ballot question, if approved Tuesday, would add 35 open spaces to the city’s list of protected lands and make it more difficult to sell them. The key piece is Congress Square Plaza, a half-acre plaza in downtown Portland. The city wants to sell most of the plaza to an Ohio-based hotel owner.
Supporters say failure could imperil other open public spaces in a city that has seen increased development interest in recent years. Opponents of the measure say passage would discourage investment in the city.
The referendum comes a year after the city legalized marijuana via ballot question.