I attended the public forum last night and have the following comments:
1. If you have already made the decision to demolish Bates Mill #5 I would hope that the City would consider retaining the portion devoted to the hydro plant for the canal on the east side, this way the hydro power and related history could be preserved and celebrated as well as a section of the building with its iconic sawtooth roof. This is such an important building in Lewiston’s history.
2. Prior to demolish I would recommend issuing a Request for Development to see if the Master Plan goals can be realized more immediately for a major replacement building with public/civic and retail. This is a seminal site for Lewiston, valuable to a developer and could be immediately attractive rather than leaving a barren site as a gaping hole for a number of years.
The developer could be required to make certain landscape, site features as part of the purchase and the park could also begin to be realized. In the funds the city is saving from not having to maintain Bates #5, this money could be targeted to go to more of the site features of this new park.
What a highly visible and meaningful way to kick off the implementation of the Master Plan combining private and public dollars.
Lewiston-Auburn Riverfront Island
Theme/Focus “Recreation Vacation Destination”
I attended your November presentation and have given more thought about the revitalization of Lewiston-Auburn’s riverfront, canal, and Bates Mill area. In particular, the first part of your presentation noted that it is important that the development of this area be unique. Although many of my ideas have been shared already by others – what makes the following unique is that, in combination, it could be a very unique attraction, not only for local people but also for attracting visitors.
I envision our riverfront to be representative and highlighting what makes Maine the Vacationland state – why we chose to live here and what attracts tourists to our state. Lewiston-Auburn already has many of the things that fit this criteria – our goal should be to highlight what we already have in this community and rounding it out by adding activities that reflect Maine’s natural beauty along with providing fun, wholesome ways to promote an active, healthy, fit lifestyle. The importance of activities that involve fitness and health are especially relevant due to a number of statistics, including the following:
Maine’s high prevalence of smoking and high rate of cancer deaths is among its challenges. Maine’s national ranking for diabetes (25,) smoking (28,) and obesity (24,) is all the more reason to work on a culture change:
92,000 adults now have diabetes
192,000 people still smoke in Maine,
289,000 people in Maine are now obese.
Adopting a healthier way of life requires a culture change. By having venues for a variety of activities and having those venues, both outdoors and indoors, clearly visible and accessible, changes in lifestyle are more apt to become contagious. A culture change to healthier lifestyles needs a visible, fun approach and we have a unique opportunity to influence that change while bringing economic vitality and a fresh new perspective to the “It’s Happening Here” initiative of a few years ago . . . not to mention a unique way to attract visitors to our area.
River, Canals, and Bates Mill
River – needs easy and multiple access for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing, including launch sites and ample nearby parking especially for those who are launching equipment. A zip line across the river would be a very unique attraction.
Simard-Payne Park, which I envision as the place where events will continue to gather large crowds, needs a large, clear, sight way of the river. People gathered there need to see and enjoy the beauty of the river. Signage is important, especially from major routes and from major parking garages and lots.
Outdoor Amphitheater and stage – possibly located adjacent to Veteran’s Park a/o Simard Payne Park.
Planned locations for equipment rental outlets for canoes/kayaks/fishing/biking/inline skating/ice skating/snowshoeing/x-country skiing/roller-skiing.
River walk, area parks, and canals would all have designated recreation pathways as well. These pathways would include winter recreation, with part of the pathways plowed and maintained for walking as well as adjacent pathways for x-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Canals – spring, summer, and fall use with paddle boat and small kayak use. Launch sites and rentals available. Winter use with separate, long pathways maintained for skating and x-country skiing and snowshoeing on the outer edges. The center of the pathway would have a curling court. The “dead-ends” of the canals would be used for pond-hockey.
Pathways – On as many major roads into and out of the city as possible, create a designated recreation or “human-powered” lanes for cycling, inline skating, roller-skiing. Think “Pinellas Trails” on the west coast of Florida, http://www.pinellascounty.org/trailgd/
As many parks and walkways in the riverfront and canal area need to be connected and accessible for “human-powered” activities. Both sides of the canal need designated walkways and those along the river need to be better connected, longer, and have more visible access to the water (esp. the Lewiston side.)
Bates Mill –along with small specialty shops and eateries, in keeping with the Recreation/Vacation/ Destination theme, the mill could house additional recreational and fun fitness activities. In summer, it could house winter-type activities (indoor ice/snow ?) and in winter it could house summer type activities and themes (lazy river, luau, picnics, gardening, water park, indoor kayaking, cycling ?) No matter the time of year, between indoors and outdoors, people could enjoy themselves and be active. Activities co be co-sponsored by public and private organizations, including L-A’s Recreation Departments, the Y’s, etc. The idea would not be to duplicate what these organizations already have but to provide them a centralized venue to have the public try an activity that could be continued elsewhere.
Lewiston-Auburn has much to offer. Three of its unique resources are its people, the river, and the historic Bates Mill. Let’s keep our people fit and healthy, be a role-model for others outside of our community and invite them to join us. Let’s enjoy our river and canals and show the world the beauty of Maine and another reason to visit our community. Let’s preserve a historic building by maximizing its value while benefitting people from all walks of life, all ages, from here and from away.
This is a good idea. Let’s not put this one on the shelf after the consultants are paid. Let’s have a real project with a plan, funding, milestones, reports, public disclosure, and good PR. Time to do it right
I’d like to know why area business owners have never been notified or asked for input into this process. We’ve run a business here for over 50 years and it would have been nice to hear about it all before it hit the local newspaper.
Thank you for your comment. The full involvement of residents and businesses is central to the Riverfront Island Master Plan process.
Over the next 8 months, there will be many opportunities to be involved – through meetings, public workshops, and other events, as well as through this website. This process began this week with several meetings and a downtown walking tour attended by approximately 20 community members.
Please get in touch with the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to talk further at this time, or if you’d like additional information.
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