May 24, 2018
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Machias to remove parking obstacles on Main Street

By Sharon Kiley Mack, BDN Staff

MACHIAS, Maine — A long-standing impediment to parking on Main Street may be eliminated this summer.

Town Manager Chris Loughlin told the Downtown Revitalization Committee that the nodes that take up valuable parking space would be removed if the budget item is passed at this year’s annual town meeting.

Three of the six nodes would be removed at a cost somewhere between $5,000 and $12,000, Loughlin said. The nodes at the beginning and end of the downtown block and the node at the pedestrian crosswalk would remain.

The plan was cheered by downtown business owners, who have lost customers for years because of a lack of street parking.

Loughlin said that the Maine Department of Transportation wants the nodes to remain because it believes the nodes slow traffic and decrease accidents.

The Public Works Department budget will be reviewed by the selectmen and the town’s budget committee at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 1. The annual meeting is set for June 8.

Loughlin also told the committee that he would propose rebuilding the sidewalk and curbing on Center Street.

“We need to redefine what is sidewalk and what is road,” he said.

He said the work, if approved in the town budget, would be completed after normal business hours so as not to impede business at the two banks located there.

The committee held a lengthy discussion regarding whether the town should install a permit system for vendors using the dike over the Middle River. It was suggested that a $15 a day or $100 a season fee could cover the town’s expenses, such as rubbish removal.

The committee also approved a formal vision and mission.

Changes around town that were noted included:

ä A new wine shop is seeking a location on Main Street.

ä A nonprofit is seeking to preserve hundreds of acres of marshland and riverfront property along the Middle River from the dike to Route 192.

ä David Whitney is offering Whitney’s Tool Shed for sale, which could change the downtown landscape.

ä New parking signs for the downtown municipal lot will be installed in early April.

The next meeting of the committee is at 7 a.m. Friday, Feb. 11, at Helen’s Restaurant. All interested business owners and others are welcome.

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