Your local land trust has moved! The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) now has a new office on Brunswick Landing, the former Brunswick Naval Air Station (BNAS). The new location, 179 Neptune Drive, provides a wealth of opportunities to engage with recreation land nearby as well as the growing community at Brunswick Landing.
Formerly the Navy’s non-commissioned officer’s club, the building BTLT now calls home, is in a location that “fits BTLT’s mission much better,” says Nikkilee (Lee) Cataldo, BTLT’s Director of Programs. With Neptune Woods out the back door, Kate Furbish Preserve less than a mile away, and neighbors like the YMCA and the Town Rec Department, there are a lot of opportunities for BTLT to help connect the community to conservation lands and recreational opportunities.
“Because we are now in the Landing community—where there are residences and businesses—and because we are adjacent to recreation lands, people are going to be able to more easily use our office space as a resource. We’d like to offer things like a library of guidebooks, guided outings, and maybe one day trailhead restrooms,” said Cataldo. With a large deck, shared meeting rooms, ample parking, and outdoor spaces, the building provides opportunities for events, educational programming, and other engagement.
The hope is that the building will become a true community hub for outdoor recreation and conservation efforts in a reclaimed part of Brunswick that is growing rapidly. The Cathance River Education Alliance (CREA) has already moved into the adjacent office space. In the future, it is hoped that programs like Bikes for all Mainers, a gearhub, and other recreation and conservation focused programs will join BTLT and CREA in the building.
“We’re looking forward to the space being shared with partners in our work,” said Angela Twitchell, Executive Director of the Land Trust. “Having CREA and other organizations right next door is exciting because it will allow us to all do more collaborative work together.”
BTLT’s new home is a big change after decades spent on Maine Street. For years, BTLT was based out of the second floor of the Bank of America building at 110 Maine Street. Then, three years ago, BTLT moved to the second floor of the Black Building at 56 Maine Street. However, BTLT never envisioned that location to be a permanent home for the organization.
“We really wanted to try to find an office that would be near one of our conserved properties,” said Twitchell. At the new location,wall-to-wall rear windows look out onto woods abutting BTLT’s Neptune Woods property and its set of trails. “It is so wonderful to be able to walk our trails at lunch or use them for meetings – especially in the era of COVID.”
The project was inspired by the vision of community member Larry Klein, and made possible by Tom Wright, a local developer with extensive experience working at Brunswick Landing. Flight Deck, the YMCA, Seeds of Independence, the Senior College, and the new Wild Oats facility are just some of the organizations and businesses Wright has helped draw to Brunswick Landing. Wright has a passion for making sure that community spirit is included as an important tenet of the development at the Landing. “When we have restaurants, nonprofit services, and things like that, it’s a much more sustainable community. Facilitating that kind of community-based development is part of my grounding objective,” said Wright.
“We are so grateful to Tom [Wright] for his hard work, patience, and vision in supporting the creation of this wonderful space,” said Cataldo. A generous grant from Jane’s Trust was instrumental in completing the move successfully and is helping BTLT engage other nonprofits in the envisioned conservation, environmental education, and outdoor recreation center.
“Our hope is that the Landing will become more of a central part of the community of Brunswick and the region as time moves forward,” said Twitchell. “And we’re excited to be a part of that. As an organization, we’re looking forward to the opportunities, new connections, and partnerships that the Landing will offer.”
With BTLT staff still partially working from home due to COVID-19, the move has been a gradual process,but the Land Trust is excited to announce that they are now entirely relocated and functioning in the new space. When COVID guidelines relax, BTLT will look forward to officially opening the office and welcoming the community to visit and celebrate their new home.