WATERVILLE — City councilors on today will consider voting to close Common Street downtown from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays from April 27 through Nov. 16 this year to accommodate the Downtown Waterville Farmers’ Market.
The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at The Center and will be preceded by an executive session at 6:45 p.m. to discuss labor negotiations.
Because Colby College bought the northeast corner of The Concourse downtown as the site for a student residential complex, the farmers market had to find a new location on Thursdays during warmer weather. Colby College, Waterville Main Street — which hosts the market — and city officials last year discussed where to have the market and chose Common Street with the understanding that future use of Common Street for the market will be evaluated after the 2017 season. The market is held 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays, but farmers and other vendors must have time to set up and tear down their booths, so extra time is needed before and after those hours.
City Manager Michael Roy said Monday that he encourages anyone interested in or affected by the closing of Common Street to come to today’s meeting.
“Anyone that has questions or concerns is welcome to speak,” he said.
In other matters today, the council is expected to postpone voting on whether to complete a parking agreement with Colby to lease spaces in the city-owned parking lot on Front Street. The spaces would be used by a future boutique hotel Colby plans to build, but Roy said Monday that the council will have to postpone that vote until May 2.
“Colby hasn’t finished their review of the proposed lease,” he said.
Colby wants to build a 42-room boutique hotel with a restaurant at the site of the former Levine’s clothing store at 9 Main St. across the street from the city-owned parking lot, but college officials say the hotel cannot be built without use of part of the parking lot. If the hotel is not built, then the residential complex can not be constructed, according to Colby officials.
The council also will consider a request from Sid Geller to purchase the former Elden Inn lot off Main Street just north of 177 Main St., an office building Geller owns.
Members of the city’s Parking Study Committee have discussed possibly using the vacant lot as a parking area, since all the new development downtown will displace some public parking areas.
But Roy said that while he has not had any conversations with councilors about the request to sell the three-quarter acre lot, he does not think the city has an interest in selling it, and he thinks it is important the city keep it.
Councilors today also will consider terminating the existing lease with Airlink LLC and entering into a new lease with Airlink Academy for 497 square feet of space in the terminal at the city-owned Robert LaFleur Municipal Airport. The space would be used for a flight school.
Airlink, which had a flight school and charter service, sold its charter service to Air New England but kept the flight school, which it is renaming, according to Roy. Air New England also is requesting the council approve a lease for a 105-square-foot space within the airport terminal building for conducting air charter operations.
Amy Calder — 861-9247