The City of Lewiston has received an earmark grant of $900,000 designated for creating a master plan to guide riverfront development.
The $900,000 in the Economic Development Initiative grant can only be used for: acquisition, planning, design, purchase of equipment, revitalization, redevelopment or construction. No more than 20 percent of the grant can be used for planning.
City staff is creating a request for proposals to seek a consultant to assist in the project. Assistant to the City Administrator Lincoln Jeffers outlined the process for issuing RFPs in a December 16 memo to the city council:
Phase I is to develop a comprehensive master plan for the downtown riverfront area. Phase II will involve efforts to implement the recommendations of the riverfront development plan.
The master plan will focus on Riverfront Island, which encompasses the area bounded by the upper canal and Canal Street to the east, Gully Brook to the south, the Androscoggin River to the west and north, back to the point of beginning at the northern tip of Island Point.
The master plan will be done in two phases. The RFP is being issued for Phase I, which is the portion of Riverfront Island north of Cedar Street.
The Phase I area is 77 acres. Approximately 50 percent of the acreage is comprised of “brownfield” sites. The city owns approximately one third of the acreage.
The area includes 3,700 linear feet of riverfront and 5,900 linear feet of canals. There are 100 residential units with the remaining land used for commercial, cultural, green space and parking. It includes the Bates, Hill and Continental Mills, as well as the Franco-American Heritage Center and Museum LA. The recently adopted Strategic Plan recognizes this area as the centerpiece for downtown revitalization.
The planning effort will be designed to generate significant public interest, involvement and feedback. Targeted stakeholders, as well as the general public, will be engaged to help create a vision for the future of this area. “To effect real change, it is essential that the public is involved in development of the plan and embraces the vision created,” Jeffers stated.
The scope of services will:
Create a master plan that articulates a vision that will stimulate private-sector investment in the area that capitalizes on the natural and scenic resources of the area and utilizes “Smart Growth” principles;
Inventory current properties and make recommendations on what should be maintained, redeveloped or demolished;
Identify opportunities for public access to the river, improved utilization of public spaces and transforming the canal into an aesthetic and recreational amenity;
Design a parking plan to meet projected needs at buildout in a cost-effective and land-efficient manner;
Maximize accessibility to and through this area using a variety of transportation modes, including a traffic plan that will ensure the city’s development objectives are not restricted due to traffic concerns;
Improve linkages between this area and the commercial and residential areas above the canal system and south of Cedar Street; and
Identify the proper mix of residential, commercial, service, arts, hospitality, cultural and open space uses to achieve a vibrant mixed-use area that attracts visitors and residents to the city.
The RFP will be issued within the next several weeks. A Selection Review Committee will review proposals, make a short list of respondents and may interview short-listed firms. The committee will make a recommendation to the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee will award the contract.
The RFP will ask respondents to provide a time frame and schedule for completing the scope of services. It is anticipated respondents will require at least six to nine months to complete the work.