First look at sidewalk reconstruction plan in downtown Rumford

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A presentation by EnvisionRumford! regarding the draft master plan regarding sidewalk reconstruction in downtown Rumford took place on Jan. 22.
The master plan was prepared by Terrence DeWan & Associates and Main-Land Development Consultants, Inc.
Proposed improvements are as follows:
1. New sidewalk patterns with gray concrete and color paving bands; plazas of concrete pavers or other. Additional interest with small scale street trees, plantings, period style street lights, planted pots, benches and bike racks to be located within the accent paving bands and plaza areas.
2. Formalized parking and new sidewalks at the American Legion lot and along Lowell Street.
3. New sidewalk along River Street between the guardrail and roadway.
4. Improved intersection of Congress and Portland streets with crosswalks, improved sidewalks and reduced curb openings.
5. New sidewalk along Portland Street at Rite Aid.
6. Improved pedestrian access and crossings at intersection of River and Portland streets.
7. Reduced driveway widths, additional green space and sidewalk improvements for safety at Franklin Savings Bank and the fire station along River Street.
8. Improved intersection at Hartford and River streets for safer vehicle and pedestrian movement.
9. Relocated the exit from Key Bank parking lot to the drive through lane to improve the sidewalk and increase parking along River Street.
10. New crosswalk with direct access to Morency Park and a new continuous waterside walk along River Street.
11. New crosswalk at Exchange Street for access to the new River Street walk.
12. New concrete sidewalk along River Street to replace existing asphalt walk.
13. Improved pedestrian crossing to Memorial Park at the intersection of Bridge and Congress streets.
14. New waterside walk along Canal Street. Can be achieved in the short term with road paint and reducing the travel lane along Canal Street by five feet.
15. Improved pedestrian and vehicular movement at the intersection of Railroad and Canal streets by reducing pavement and curb openings and adding crosswalks and green space. Also improves access to potential future parking on the other side of the bridge.
16. New curb line and sidewalk in front of Dunkin Donuts.
17. New pocket park/plaza at the corner of Exchange and Congress streets.
Rick Dunton of Main-Land Development Consultants, Inc. estimated the cost of just the concrete sidewalks on Congress Street to be between $300,000 and $350,000. Add in the revitalization aspects from the plan as drafted and that cost rises to $700,000.
The cost for all the concrete sidewalk work in the downtown as shown in the plan, including River and Canal streets, is estimated to be $600,000. With the revitalization aspects from the plan, the total cost is an estimated $1.1 million.
Town Manager John Madigan asked if the sidewalk committee could discuss prioritization “because this kind of money is not going to come overnight. I know grant funds are hard to come by and might take a year or two to get a whole project funded. We certainly have to do some immediate work on the dangerous areas of Congress Street. I think we need to decide where are the priorities.”
He said it would have to be put together in a way that “would give us flexibility to do the whole thing over several years because of the cost.”
“The most money you could get from a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) is $500,000. And depending upon the type of project, they might have already capped that at a lower amount,” said Madigan.
At the same time, the town manager acknowledged that the longer the project takes, the more it’s going to cost. To save that cost, the town could take out a bond for the entire project and pay for it over time. “The interest rate is so low that it’s worthwhile to do that kind of thinking, at this point.”
A followup will be held at 6 p.m. on Jan. 26 in the conference room at the town hall to develop a path forward with this project.
The town is looking for your feedback on this plan. Send your comments to town@rumfordmaine.net

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