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Consultants propose three scenarios for Bates Mill No. 5

Workshop on Riverfront Island Workshop is January 18

The second public workshop on the master plan for Riverfront Island will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18 at Bates Mill Atrium, 36 Chestnut St., Lewiston. Snow date is January 25 at 6 p.m. at the same location.

Consultants Goody Clancy have prepared three alternative scenarios for the development of Riverfront Island: preserve Bates Mill No. 5 and use it as a conference center or office space; demolish Mill No. 5 and replace it with a park; or demolish it and replace it with a retail center.

These are the scenarios proposed by Goody Clancy:

Scenario No. 1: Bates Mill No. 5 Preserved and Reused for High Intensity Use. We believe that the only plausible reuse options for the structure involves high?intensity options such as public offices, convention facilities, or a major recreational use. Many creative lower intensity uses have been discussed, however, we believe that the very high cost of preservation of the structure means that only more intense use types thatgenerate major economic activity could realistically be considered.

Scenario No. 2: Bates Mill No. 5 Demolished and Replaced with Signature Downtown Park. As discussed at the Riverfront Island Master Plan public workshop, many communities have successfully launched open space initiatives as transformative community and economic development strategies. Strategies have involved more traditional park spaces as well as efforts that incorporate elements of former industrial mills as seen at Minneapolis’s Mill Ruins Park.

Scenario No. 3: Bates Mill No. 5 Demolished and Replaced with Retail Center. There is potential market demand that could support a food?anchored retail development at the Bates Mill No. 5 site. Could such a use be compatible with the intended character of the district and complement other uses and activities on Riverfront Island?

The scenarios have grown out of the November 16 public workshop, interviews with community members, discussions with the Advisory Committee, and consultant team analysis. These scenarios are a starting point for discussion about what the key ingredients of the master plan should be.

The master plan that will emerge in February and March may be a combination of the three scenarios, or it may include new approaches and ideas. The scenarios may be viewed at www.riverfrontislandmasterplan.com.

The public is encouraged to attend the workshop. The atrium, which is the center of the Bates Mill complex, is the section with the clock tower facing the canal and Canal Street. Parking and access is available in front of the mill entering off Chestnut Street by the Wiseman Bridge.

This is an update on The Riverfront Island Master Plan created by Goody Clancy:

Over the next two months, the Lewiston?Auburn community will have an opportunity to think about alternative approaches for the future of Riverfront Island. To help with this discussion, the consultant team has prepared three scenarios, which are a starting point for discussion about what the key ingredients of the master plan should be.

The first Riverfront Island Master Plan public meeting held in November provided an opportunity to discuss a wide range of potential opportunities for future development that would enhance the Island as an asset for the Lewiston?Auburn community.

There is broad public agreement on many aspects of the island’s potential:

The river can become a far stronger public asset through improved public access to its edge and to the water itself. Community members would like to see the development of a continuous riverwalk along the Lewiston side of the river that links Auburn riverwalk/trails.

The canals are a unique and untapped asset. They can become part of a recreational network by lining them with tree?lined walking and/or biking trails and the water itself has the potential for creative recreational use for skating, boating and other activities.

Stronger connections are needed between the Island and Lisbon Street.

Better pedestrian and bike access are needed throughout the area, and crossings of Main and Cedar Streets need to be improved.

Island Point land is major opportunity for new development.

Creative lighting of the Great Falls, the river and its bridges, the canals and key public structures is a lower-cost initiative that could really highlight the area’s unique assets.

The reuse of the Bates Mills complex is a major success story for Lewiston. Both the high quality of renovation and the vital mix of restaurant, office and medical tenants represent models for other development in the area.

Both the Continental Mill and Bates Mill have the potential to accommodate housing uses that can add to the vitality of the area.

Museum L?A and the Franco?American Heritage Center are important cultural anchors for riverfront island and their continued development and success offer benefits for the whole community.

The future of the Bates Mill No. 5 site is the topic that draws the most divergent opinions in the Lewiston Auburn community:

Some see the building as a revered and historically important structure, an important part of the community’s legacy, an untapped gem that is poised for transformation.

Some view the building as an eyesore that is holding back development of the area as a whole, a financial burden on the city with little potential for feasible reuse.

Some see the layout of the building as highly inflexible and unsuitable for many uses such as office space or housing, and given its poor condition likely to be very expensive to reuse.

Many are frustrated at how long it has taken to identify potentially viable reuses and would now like to consider alternatives to reuse.

Most agree that given the building’s highly visible location at Lewiston’s front door, whatever happens will define Lewiston for future generations, much as it has over the last 100 years.

For all of these reasons, the future of the Bates Mill No. 5 site will define the identity of the city going forward and determining its future is the most critical decision to be defined through the Riverfront Island Master Plan process.

Consequently, the most significant variable in the master plan scenarios that now must be discussed is the future of this property. It is important to recognize that the use of this property shapes the use and potential of many surrounding properties too.

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2 Responses to “Consultants propose three scenarios for Bates Mill No. 5”

  • Annie P Towsley:

    I submit for consideration one more far out idea
    Take these buildings and structure them as a youth center that utilizes the community resources . Imagine a model center where business and community leaders share their resources and expertise to develop future leaders and community citizens. For instance the student could learn business, banking, consignment, the youth would be co- invested in each business They could have a clothing consignment store where they could buy and sell while learning business principals , a food concession stand a movie theater, a bank, a leadership council, a medical triage station to learn basic first aid, a radio station/TV station, a police department a music instrument store where one could rent, learn or tutor , book stores , math and science center that perhaps the gifted could help the less gifted. All this would be with full cooperation and volunteer time from the community business owners and leadership
    there is nothing like this yet anywhere that has hands on learning for our next generation and was sadly lacking for many
    I bet that all of you could think of ideas to enhance my dream and if it was a sucess take it to the country for a price….
    Respectfully A. T

    • Bob M ennealy:

      Annie I appreciate your suggestion, but the concept of learning+ education is what we have institutions of higher learning for, which we are lucky enough to have 3 in L.A., CMMC, the Univ.of Southern Maine LA,+ Bates College; un fortunatelyyour sugessted use would notpay for the over headcosts of the building which would then be thrust upon the already over burdened tax payers!

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