Norway seeks funds for study of Main Street improvements

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May 21—NORWAY — The Select Board on Thursday scheduled a special town meeting immediately after the annual meeting June 20 to discuss appropriating up to $70,000 for a state study of downtown safety and infrastructure improvements.

The local money from the undesignated unrestricted fund balance would be a required match to partner with the Maine Department of Transportation.

A special town meeting is required because there is not enough time to add the item to the annual meeting warrant.

The study will seek to identify ways to improve accessibility and safety for all transportation models while complimenting economic development. The area will include the section of Main Street from the intersection of Paris Street and Lower Main Street west to Water Street.

Among the potential projects, as spelled out in the warrant, are the "possible replacement of the water and sewer lines, removal or relocation of the overhead power lines, renovations/replacement of the town's concrete sidewalks and reconstruction of Main Street."

The sewer lines under Main Street are more than 100 years old, according to a town memo.

Parking alternatives, traffic patterns, bicycle lanes and the impact on economic development will also be considered.

In other business, the board accepted a $50,000 Community Resilience Partnership Community Action Grant from the Governor's Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. The award helps communities develop strategies to lower energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Town Manager Dennis Lajoie said he will meet with the contractor next week to discuss the next steps for the proposed renovations of the Town Office.

Lajoie will represent the town and speak at the Maine Climate Council conference, titled Communities Leading on Climate, in Augusta on June 17.

The board accepted a $1,000 donation from Carrie Colley for Fire Department training and $120 from Chad Phillips for the electric vehicle charging station at Longley Square.

Selectman Sarah Carter reported on the ongoing conference plan survey being conducted on the town website. More than 150 online surveys have been submitted, as well as several paper surveys, which are available at the Town Office and the public library on Main Street.

Two public meetings on the survey results are scheduled for June 1: 10:30 a.m. on Zoom and 6 to 7:30 p.m. in person at the Forum in Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris.

Survey results will be shared from 6 to 7:30 p.m. July 13 at the high school forum.