WILTON — A $400,000 revitalization project aimed at making Wilton’s downtown more walkable is due to break ground shortly after Labor Day now that a contractor has been selected.

Selectmen voted at a special board meeting Thursday to accept a $365,922 bid from Pratt and Son Inc. to complete the project. The project will be completed using a $400,000 downtown revitalization grant the town received last year from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

The town has been working with engineering firm Wright-Pierce over the last year to develop the plan for the project, which focuses on improvements to sidewalks around the monument near High Street and continues down Main Street to the Wilton Free Public Library. The project will also include updating streetlights and adding street amenities, such as benches and trash receptacles, and making improvements to a public parking lot on High Street.

The grant is a Community Development Block Grant originating with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered through the state Department of Economic and Community Development. Town voters in 2014 had to approve designating a portion of the town’s downtown as a “slum and blight” in order to be eligible for the grant. The slum and blight area runs from Wilson Lake along Main Street to Depot Street and along Depot Street, which is Route 156, to the intersection with U.S. Route 2. It includes a mix of occupied and unoccupied residential and commercial properties, such as the dilapidated Forster Mill building. The designation made the town eligible for up to two years for the CDBG program.

The $400,000 grant is a part of a series of development projects in both the public and private sectors in Wilton over the last year.

The town has already gotten the new streetlights for a cost of $37,175, which is not included in the Pratt and Son bid. With the construction bid and the lighting totaling about $3,000 over the $400,000 grant, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said the cost will likely be reduced by eliminating some benches or trash receptacles from the plans.

In addition to the construction costs, selectmen voted to hire Wright-Pierce to oversee the engineering side of the project. Selectmen approved hiring the firm for a cost of up to $10,000.

Irish said the money will likely come out of the town’s tax increment financing district fund, though use of the money will be contingent on voter approval at a special town meeting, which Irish said will likely be held in September.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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