Misinformation about downtown project
I am a member of the Main Street Advisory Group, however, I am writing this as a citizen and taxpayer and do not speak for the group.
Since the original ballot question was approved, the Wiscasset Taxpayers Alliance has been opposing the project.
A lot of misinformation has been circulated designed to turn people against the project. There was a recent Facebook posting implying that MDOT was lying when they said they would pay for all of the work. Checking with MDOT verified that they are willing to pay for all of the amenities proposed with the exception of public restrooms. The Facebook posting was changed to reflect the actual story approximately two days later.
Wiscasset is in violation of the Americans Disability Act. Not only can a person with a disability not navigate the sidewalks in the downtown area, the walks are hardly safe for a person who is not disabled. Improving this situation is estimated to cost approximately $400,000. This is a substantial expense that the town will not have to shoulder. If not done now, at some point, the town will have to correct this problem on their own by order of the government or via a lawsuit. If we fix these problems, we can encourage more businesses to invest there.
I also hope that the current businesses would invest some money and time in the appearance of their buildings. A thumbnail description of the area now is “shabby.” The individual who has been financing an attorney to fight MDOT would have been wiser to use the funds to hire a roofer. Walking in the downtown area, you will notice wood rotting on sills that have not been painted in years. We have one so-called “historic” building that is close to imploding due to neglect.
Removing the diagonal parking on Main Street will not only make driving through the area safer, but it will make the area look a lot better. As to the claim that off-street parking will hurt the businesses on the street, in Freeport, there are a few parking spaces used for quick pick-ups and loading, which the committee had included in the plan for Wiscasset, but most parking is off-street. They are still in business.