Machias Revitalization Committee projects set to get under way

Posted May 14, 2011, at 2:11 p.m.
Last modified May 15, 2011, at 6:36 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — Several downtown beautification projects will soon be in place and members of the town’s downtown revitalization committee are hoping they will have a big impact.

A decorative iron fence, paid for jointly by the committee and landowner Sandi Bryant, soon will be installed where a chain link fence now protects a sharp drop-off. The fence surrounds a deep hole where a building once stood but burned down years ago. The site is now an interpretive garden, created by Bryant, and the entrance to municipal parking by the Machias River.

The committee has just a $3,000 annual budget, and the entire 2010 budget was spent on the fence. Meanwhile, Town Manager Chris Loughlin told the committee at its monthly meeting Friday that the flower barrels that are placed each year along Main Street will be fuller and more prominent this year.

Complaints had been received in the past that the barrels were not cared for and were removed too early in the season. In addition, several planters for the Machias River Bridge are being ordered. They will be basket-style planters that will be fastened to the bridge with metal straps to deter vandalism, Loughlin said.

Loughlin and committee member Nancy Mirman volunteered to approach the R.H. Foster Co. about improvements to its service station and convenience store property next to Bad Little Falls Park to be “more aesthetically pleasing.”

The committee consensus was that the property needed softening with landscaping, and concerns were expressed that a historic building next door, which R.H. Foster purchased last year, will be torn down and more pavement installed.

Mirman said she and Loughlin can approach the company with the committee’s desire to see a more open-style fence, similar to what is being installed on Main Street, to allow better viewing of Bad Little Falls, and possibly some green space nearby.

Several other property owners, including Machias Savings Bank, which owns a dilapidated former car dealership that is covered with blue tarps because the roof is no longer sound, also will be contacted about upgrading or repairing their properties.

Committee members also discussed changes at the Machias Valley Area Chamber of Commerce since director Kathleen Shannon has resigned. Shannon was the liaison between the Chamber and the revitalization committee. The position is being advertised, Loughlin said.

Meanwhile, committee members were challenged to come up with meaningful projects for the coming year and bring those ideas to the next meeting, scheduled for 7 a.m. Friday, June 10, at Helen’s Restaurant. Anyone with an interest in the downtown area is welcome to attend.

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