SCARBOROUGH, Maine — The Long Range Planning Committee envisions a new Dunstan Corner neighborhood that feels like the bustling village it once was.
With the support of the community, in the next 10-20 years, the vision could become a reality.
The committee on Aug. 22 discussed goals for the long-term development of Dunstan Corner, the area where U.S. Route 1, and Payne, Broadturn and Pine Point roads converge.
The committee will hold a forum in early September, where residents and business owners in the neighborhood can weigh in, as they did last year, on what they want in the area’s future.
Following community input, the committee hopes to bring goals and ideas for development to the Town Council.
Dunstan’s revitalization was most recently a topic of discussion in May 2013, when the neighborhood was named one of 10 “pilot communities” under study by regional planning organization Sustain Southern Maine. The studies are funded through a grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Dunstan was selected for the study because it’s a primary intersection with traffic-heavy U.S. Route 1 and because of the area’s history as a village center. The area also underwent major reconstruction last year to revise traffic patterns from U.S. Route 1 into Pine Point, Payne and Broadturn roads.
“Dunstan really was a thriving village at one point,” Scarborough Economic Development Corp. President Karen Martin told committee members. “We’re on the path to recapturing the feeling of a village.”
In meetings with community members last year following the designation, residents and business owners enthusiastic about revitalizing the neighborhood weighed options such as improving traffic flow and the intersection’s walkability, or possibly creating a new main street.
Martin hopes revisiting the topic will re-engage stakeholders and produce concrete goals for the revitalization project.
“It makes sense to come back and wrap this up, and really put some choices before the town in terms of what can happen down there,” she said.
The area is of particular interest and urgency to the LRPC, because members predict the Dunstan Village will undergo major economic development in the near future, regardless of community intervention.
The group also believes now is the time to plan if the community cares to retain and invigorate the historic integrity of the former village, or create new retail space that encourages small businesses owned by locals.
Since the project is still in the early conceptual stages, any Dunstan revitalization plan will have a long road ahead. But Planning Board and LRPC member Susan Auglis said Dunstan’s heritage and location make it a perfect opportunity for town officials and residents to think big for the future.
“Why not be bold?” Auglis said.