Bath council OKs downtown walkway, sewer improvements

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BATH — The City Council on Wednesday unanimously accepted a bid of more than $110,000 for construction of an improved downtown walkway.

Councilors also gave final approval to a $2 million bond for sewer improvements.

The bid, from LaBrecque Construction, is for a more than 100-foot-long granite walkway that will run from the corner of King and Commercial streets – near the historic train station, which serves as a visitor information center – to the corner of Water and Vine streets. The walkway is intended to be a safer and more distinctive improvement over a current crosswalk.

“We think of it as a safety project and an economic development project,” City Planner Jim Upham said.

The project, due to be completed by June 5, will be funded by a $25,000 Maine Department of Transportation safety grant, a $16,000 Green Downtowns! grant from the Maine Downtown Center, and part of a $1.1 million bond the council approved last December. That bond is to be repaid through the city’s Downtown Tax Increment Financing District.

In response to the Park Street area and other parts of the city being plagued by sewer backups and overflows, the city will borrow $2 million to pay for sewer and storm water improvements.

The projects will be implemented over the next three years. Replacement of the Harward Street pump station force main on Washington Street, estimated to cost $869,000, is planned for this year, along with work on a Harward Street interceptor, estimated to cost $147,000.

A Winship Green storm water project costing about $138,000 is planned for next year, along with a Green Street storm drain separation that would cost about $160,000.

City Manager Bill Giroux has said 55 percent of the bond payback will come from the Bath Iron Works TIF district, and the rest from the city’s sewer utility fund.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.