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Audio tours provide historic view of tri-city area

By LIZ GOTTHELF, Staff WriterA new local initiative, Treetops & Rooftops GIS, is bringing on demand tours of local points of interest.

Treetops & Rooftops, an initiative of Saco Bay Center for Civic Engagement and created by volunteers, has developed a pilot program with three audio tours – historical tours of Pepperell Park in Saco and The Pier in Old Orchard Beach and an audio drama that takes place at a segment of the Eastern Trail in Biddeford behind Southern Maine Health Care.

The tours can be found by going to the Saco Bay Center for Civic Engagement website, www.sacobaycenter.org. Project leader Melissa Field secured the use of a mapping system developed for the Eastern Trail to allow smartphone users to access the audio tours.

“You can take the tour anytime,” said Fields.

Local historian Catherine Glynn worked with students from Katy Nicketakis’ French class at Thornton Academy to develop and narrate the Pepperell Park tour, which includes history of the park and a poem written in 1900 by William Grant Brooks.

The tour was translated by Thornton Academy French students as a class project, and narrated in French by two student volunteers.

Thornton Academy senior Taylor Lamarre said she volunteered last school year to dictate part of the recording because she wants to become more fluent in French.

Lamarre said the project was a lot of fun to work on and she learned a lot about Saco.

“It sounds really, really good: Better than I expected,” she said. “I think it’s really cool that a lot of people are going to be hearing this.”

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