NEWPORT, Maine — The riverfront between Main Street and Center Street soon will be getting a face-lift.
The town was granted a two-year permit on Aug. 12 to construct a river walk along the Sebasticook River, said Town Manager Jim Ricker during the selectmen’s meeting on Wednesday evening.
The 6-foot-wide gravel walkway will run 800 feet, he said. Early estimates put the project between $20,000 and $24,000.
“It has the potential of being a very nice riverside park,” said Ricker.
The area has not been much to look at in recent years.
“This used to be flooded in water. Dead water,” Ricker said. “Stink, dead water with a lot of trash and stuff in it. No fish life whatsoever.”
After the Main Street dam was taken out as part of the fish project, the river was rerouted to its original route.
“What we said, and we said it back in 2001, wouldn’t it be great to have a river walk? That would enable people to enjoy this area on foot,” he said. “And we would have informational signage there at some point.”
The pathway would be the first phase of the project. The second step would be to fill in an area that has been flooded and was referred to at the meeting as a “mosquito bog.”
The Main Street bridge, which will be connected to the river walk, also will be renamed.
The bridge, which carries Routes 2, 7, 100 over the Sebasticook River, will be renamed The Donald Sidney Skidgel Memorial Bridge after a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
“This will be a full military dedication,” said Ricker. The dedication will take place on Oct. 15.
Skidgel was born in Caribou on Oct. 13, 1948, but lived in Newport. He served in Vietnam until he was killed in action.
The bridge reopening is slightly behind schedule. It should be open by Sept. 3, he said. The bridge originally was slated to open on Aug. 30.
Other items on the agenda:
• Paul Greene resigned from the Lake Drawdown Association. Maxine Pare was unanimously approved to take his position.
• The Labor Day parade will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 3. If the Main Street bridge is open, it will be included in the parade route. If not, Water Street will be used.
• The draining of the Sebasticook Lake has been moved up to Sept. 12.