Friday, October 7, 2022

Parking facility aims to revitalize South Windham

By Ed Pierce

Even Joni Mitchell would be proud of this accomplishment, a new 50-space parking lot has been completed in South Windham and is intended to serve as the cornerstone to revitalizing the area.

A new 50-space parking lot has opened neat the South
Windham Fire Station and the Cumberland County Soil
and Water Conservation District building in South Windham.
The project was a partnership between the county and the town
and is intended to help foster the revitalization of
South Windham, SUBMITTED PHOTO  
Mitchell, who wrote the song “Big Yellow Taxi” which describes paving paradise to put up a parking lot, probably hasn’t visited the Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District’s new parking lot at 35 Main St. in South Windham, but it’s a thing of beauty. The lot was a collaborative effort between Cumberland County, the Soil and Water Conservation District and the Town of Windham.

The town approached the Soil and Water Conservation District several years ago with the idea that a multi-use parking lot could benefit all interests in South Windham. The old parking lot has been transformed this fall into parking for tenants of the Soil and Water Conservation District building, for hikers using nearby trails, for nearby businesses and for the town, which shares a driveway with the district for the South Windham Fire Station.

“Back when we first looked at this, we originally looked entrance issues in that area,” Windham Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said. “We thought we could work a partnership short-term, to fix the entrance problems and repave the driveway for parking but it turned out to be so much more.”

The town applied for a Community Development Block Grant through Cumberland County in 2020 for the parking lot and then went back a second time for additional funding. Eventually, Cumberland County contributed $205,295 to the project for surfaces and materials and the rest is history.

“The county was gracious in seeing the value of doing this,” Tibbetts said. “It benefits all of Cumberland County.”

As a result of the improved entrance and the redesigned parking lot, soon a new restaurant and brew house will be able to set up shop in the old South Windham Fire Station on Main Street. Hikers will be able to park safely and securely in the lot, and new tenants of the Cumberland County Soil and Water Conservation District will be able to park there too.

Gorrill Palmer served as engineers for the project and Aceto Earthworks spent 3 ½ weeks working on the lot.

Kristin Styles, Community Development Director for Cumberland County, said every member of the county’s municipal oversight committee voted yes on approving the CDBG grant for the project.

“This will lead to the revitalization of South Windham,” Styles said.

All the partners involved in the project for the shared parking lot gathered Friday, Sept. 30 outside the Soil and Water Conservation Building to cut a ribbon marking the official opening of the lot for the public.

Chris Brewer, Soil and Water Conservation District manager, said he was amazed at how nicely the project came together and what it means for the community.

“We don’t mind sharing this parking lot and the improvement from what is was to what it is now is dramatic,” Brewer said. “We didn’t mind the construction and are really happy with the end result.”

Tibbetts said this new parking lot is an accomplishment that all residents of Windham can be proud of.

“It has substantial long term benefits and we’re pleased at how this all has turned out,” he said. “We owe a lot of thanks to the multitudes of people who worked on this project, and we certainly appreciate all of the efforts to help from county government.”

Also on hand for the ribbon cutting were Larry Eliason, president of the Windham Economic Development Corporation, and Carol Ann Doucette of Locations Real Estate Group in Falmouth, who coordinated the dedication ceremony. <


No comments:

Post a Comment

Your Comments Help Improve Your Community.