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National Park Service to assist in riverfront planning

The Cities of Lewiston and Auburn have been selected by the National Park Service to receive a technical assistance grant for planning the Androscoggin Greenway in their region.

Seeking to build on the growing momentum of new riverfront parks, trails and water-based events, local leaders have partnered with the Androscoggin Land Trust (ALT) and its LA Trails program to seek ways to further connect neighborhoods and schools to each other and the Androscoggin River.

“We look forward to working with the Land Trust and Park Service on this project,” said Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert. “The Androscoggin has become a tremendous asset to our region and to the city’s plans for our riverfront and mill district.

“Building stronger connections between the downtown areas of Lewiston and Auburn, our residential neighborhood and the river and its associated natural assets is a key part of our vision for this region’s future,” Gilbert said.

The Androscoggin Greenway is a concept first envisioned by the cities and the Androscoggin Land Trust in the mid 1990s with initial assistance from the National Park Service. The Greenway was intended to develop an open space and recreation link between the rural landscapes of the Androscoggin River corridor and the heritage and revitalization efforts of the industrial villages and downtowns.

“There is significant energy around the potential of the Androscoggin River in this community right now,” said ALT Executive Director Jonathan P. LaBonte. “With the selection of a new Museum LA site at the Camden Yarns Mill, Maine’s fifth-largest state park in the Androscoggin Riverlands just north of the downtown and growing interest in using the river for paddling, fishing and nature observation, having the National Park Service assist us in engaging neighborhoods and families at this time will be critical to ensure strong local input into upcoming planning efforts.”

In making its selection of Lewiston-Auburn, the National Park Service has appointed Julie Isbill, a key player in the initial Greenway planning, to work with ALT and its partners.

“So much has happened to improve the riverfront in Lewiston and Auburn over the past 15 years,” Isbill said. “By continuing to put energy into the Androscoggin Greenway vision, the community will benefit from access to nature, better quality of life and, by extension, economic development.”

Selection into the Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program is competitive: only 240 projects were selected for assistance this year throughout the United States.

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