Route 1: Now comes the hard part

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 12:15pm

About this blog:

  • Frank Barnako is a seasonal resident of Wiscasset at Clarks Point on the Sheepscot River.   His career in journalism included on air and news director positions with CBS and NBC Radio and TV stations.  He was a pioneer in the Internet, helping to create and co-found MarketWatch.com where he also developed a 200-station radio network and wrote daily columns focused on the stock market, business news, and technology. Barnako describes himself as “an aspiring photographer,” whose work can be seen at frankbarnako.com<http://frankbarnako.com>. He is a member of the town’s Investment Advisory Committee. Email him at wiscasset@barnako.com.

By the end of the month things are going to look a lot different around here.  The Maine Department of Transportation will begin removing the dangerous angled parking on Route One - the most dramatic, and controversial, element of the its $5 million makeover of downtown Wiscasset.

Maine DOT is putting up signage directing visitors to the new parking areas on Railroad Avenue  while the old Haggett building location is already accommodating vehicles.

This is going to take a little bit of getting used to.  For locals, landlords, and visitors. There will be confusion and frustration but, as Star Trek’s Borg warned, “Resistance is futile”. It is also an opportunity for Wiscasset to shed its reputation as “the Prettiest place to get into a traffic jam”.

A group of about 40 residents, including me, has been meeting over the past month to launch what you might call a charm offensive on behalf of Wiscasset.  The Friends of Wiscasset Village want the world to know that Wiscasset is “More than just a pretty village.”  

Federal Street resident Bob Bond has donated his considerable graphic design skills to create a logo and art work to give create a new, positive identity for Wiscasset.  You can see Bob’s work by clicking here

The Friends want the modernization of Route One to draw attention to the activities and attractions of the Village.   Events like the Chamber of Commerce’s Halloween-themed “Nightmare on Federal Street”, First Congregational Church’s Summerfest, the “Alive on the Green” concerts, the Miorris Farm’s cooking classes, Wiscasset Art Walks, and the “Holiday Marketplace” for early shoppers,  are examples.

Of course the changes coming to Route 1 will, be challenging.  That’s just part of change. But it is also an opportunity to showcase positive elements of Wiscasset, to showcase the good, the fun, the historical, the tasty and, of course, the pretty.