CHEBEAGUE ISLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Hundreds of communities across the state celebrated the nation's birthday Tuesday with parades and other festivities.
For residents of the town of Chebeague Island, located on Great Chebeague, it was also a time to celebrate its own independence — the community, which swells to about 2,000 in the summer, broke away from Cumberland 10 years ago this month.
Several thousand people turned out for the Fourth of July festivities – tradition that has taken place for a least a century – but this celebration took on a new meaning for residents who are celebrating their independence as a town.
Golf carts and trucks were decked out with stars and stripes and signs commemorating the 10th anniversary of Chebeague Island of becoming an independent town. The island community broke away after being part of Cumberland for more than 180 years.
Residents say they were tired of paying high taxes and not getting enough services in return. There were also concerns the island would eventually lose its elementary school.
Since then, the tax rate has been lowered. A number of residents take on different roles to run the town and find a way to work together and resolve their differences. Joyce Soucheck has been a year-round resident for 30 years. She is proud of how far the town has come.
The so-called newest town in Maine still has some growing pains. For example, the stone wharf needs to be expanded to deal with the growing number of summer visitors, barges and local fishermen.