Anyone interested in the state’s planned reconstruction of Main Street in Belgrade Lakes village is invited to an informational open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Town Office.

The project, scheduled for 2018, involves a full reconstruction of the section of the road between the West Road intersection and the bridge over Mill Stream, a distance of a little less than half a mile, right through the center of the village.

Ted Talbot, spokesman for the Maine Department of Transportation, said the project remains on track.

“This is just us kind of going through town,” he said. “Maybe some summer folks have concerns.”

He characterized the meeting as more of an open house.

The state’s project manager, Ernest Martin, is scheduled to be at the Belgrade Town Office during those hours “to answer questions about the project, the schedule and specific issues such as trees, septic systems, parking, etc.,” according to the announcement.


Talbot said the plans for the parking and sidewalk improvements remain in place, as well as the funding for 2018.

The project has been planned for years and raised concern among business owners about how it will affect sales. Several merchants suggested suspending any roadwork during the height of the summer tourist season — Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends. Some business owners also voiced opposition to having roadwork done at night.

It is one of the last remaining sections of Route 27 to be worked on and has proved particularly sensitive because it is the only road along a narrow isthmus between Great and Long ponds.

Most recently, an agreement was approved between the town and the nonprofit Friends of Belgrade Lakes Village for the group to provide almost $500,000 for enhancements to the project. Those enhancements include granite curbs, brick sidewalks and improved lighting.

Jan Partridge, a Belgrade resident and owner of Balloons and Things, as well as Partridge Cottage, remains “110 percent against road reconstruction.”

She has a list of concerns, including lake pollution during the work, the loss of on-street parking spaces and the possible increase in vehicle speeds if the road is widened.


“Nobody has ever been killed out here on the street,” said Partridge, who has lived on Main Street about 50 years and has taken her concerns directly to Martin. “They make it wider, make it a thoroughfare, I hate to say it, but somebody is going to get hurt out there.”

Part of her concern, she said on Thursday, is that vehicles travel much faster through the village in the winter when there’s no congestion and fewer vehicles are parked along the street.

She favors improvement of the sidewalks, but wants them kept at street level rather than raised.

“People come to Belgrade because they want the old feeling of the village,” she said. “We don’t need to pretend we’re Boothbay, Bar Harbor or Freeport. It just boils me; it really does. Do the sidewalks need some help? Yes.”

In the agreement, the Board of Selectpersons committed itself to asking residents to raise $10,200 in matching money for 500 feet of sidewalks and granite curbs between St. Helena Catholic Church and the Union Church, a one-tenth of a mile stretch in the north end of the village, as well as $45,000 for a wider road there. That money had been put aside in previous years in town accounts for new sidewalks, and voters will be asked to authorize spending it for this project. As of Dec. 31, $39,333.26 was in a sidewalk improvement capital reserve.

The town also is asking that the state do upgrades to the project, including brick rather than asphalt sidewalks and a sidewalk lighting system for just over 1,500 feet. The Friends — which have been seeking donations as well as grants for the project — agreed to pay almost $496,000 for the work as well as ongoing electricity and maintenance costs, the latter to be funded through a capital trust fund.


Selectmen have been adamant that the project not require an increase in taxes.

Belgrade Town Manager Carrie Castonguay said Wednesday she anticipated the state will hold a more formal public meeting to be held later.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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