Lewiston to host ribbon-cutting for new park and sledding hill

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Jan. 29—LEWISTON — The snow arriving this weekend may be just in time for children to try a new sledding spot in the city next month.

A ribbon-cutting and public naming for a new city park on Bartlett Street will take place at 1 p.m. Feb. 12.

The property at 280 Bartlett St. abuts the 110-acre Franklin Pasture complex just up the hill, where a path connects it to the fields at Lewiston High School and Connors Elementary School.

The site of the former Hudson Bus Lines was redeveloped into an athletic field and sledding hill.

The city has owned the land since 2017, when it was purchased as part of a requirement to replace other public recreational land that had been funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Hudson Bus Lines left the site in late 2016 for a new, larger location near the Maine Turnpike.

Rehabbing the 2.5-acre parcel into a recreational complex had a budget of roughly $500,000, but is also tied to the city's ongoing Choice Neighborhoods initiative. Healthy Neighborhoods, the Tree Streets community organization that has worked closely on the redevelopment program, is also involved in the grand opening of the park.

The new park and neighborhood amenities like it are seen as a vital part of the Choice Neighborhoods process, which, along with the development of new housing, is designed to provide a range of other improvements to Lewiston's downtown residential area.

In November, the city launched a park naming contest, with the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council taking the lead in fielding ideas.

According to a city announcement, the grand opening will feature a ribbon-cutting and announcement of the winning name, along with free hot chocolate and donuts; snow-sculpture building; a fire pit; voting to select new public art pieces for the park; and remarks from Mayor Carl Sheline.

The event will also provide some free cold-weather clothing and gear, as well as some extra sleds.

According to a Facebook event page from Healthy Neighborhoods, the organization is seeking donations of new and gently-used sleds, and are asking donations to be dropped at Rainbow Bicycle at 97 Lisbon St. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, until Feb. 11.

"We can't wait to see you for this neighborhood celebration," the announcement said.

The City Council is expected to vote on the park name during its meeting Feb. 1.