WATERVILLE — The Downtown Waterville Farmers Market will have a new home starting next spring: Castonguay Square, across from City Hall.

Colby College, Waterville Main Street, farmers market and city officials had been discussing possible places for the market to move, as Colby plans to build a student residential complex on the northeast corner of The Concourse, where the farmers market currently is held on Thursdays from late April through mid-November.

Colby is buying that part of the parking lot from the city and construction of the dormitory is expected to start next year, representing a key step in the city and college’s vision for downtown revitalization.

“It’s the end of a long process, but we were committed to finding a really good place for the farmers market,” Kate Carlisle, Colby’s director of communications, said Thursday.

Waterville Main Street hosts the market, which is in the city from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays.

Castonguay Square is sandwiched between Main and Front Streets, which are connected by Common Street, in the heart of downtown. When the market moves, Carlisle said, Common Street will be closed to traffic during market hours on Thursdays, but the small parking lot next to City Hall off Front Street will remain open.

The paved spot where the farmers market now is held on The Concourse — in the open and surrounded by pavement — can be hot in summer, whereas Castonguay Square is grassy and has large shade trees.

“It’s a more enclosed area, but it’s so accessible and I think it will be pretty wonderful,” Carlisle said.

Colby is working with the city on downtown revitalization efforts. The college bought five buildings downtown and has torn down one, the former Elks club on Appleton Street, and plans to build a parking lot there. The college also plans to raze the former Levine’s building at the south end of Main Street, as well as the former Waterville Hardware buildings across the street from Levine’s.

The Hains building at 173 Main St., which Colby also bought, will be renovated and turned into office, and the student residence across the street from that will have a retail business on the ground floor. Colby officials hope to partner with developers to create other businesses downtown, including a boutique hotel, and have talked about the former Levine’s site as a possible location for it.

Brian Clark, Colby’s vice president of planning, who is overseeing the college’s part in downtown revitalization, said in a statement Thursday that it was important to Colby that a great, new home downtown was found for the farmers market and Castonguay Square is particularly appealing because it provides green space and shade.

“Hosting the market in Castonguay Square every Thursday afternoon will add energy and commerce to Main Street and build on the tradition of events like the Maine International Film Festival, the Taste of Waterville, and Waterville Rocks, making the square a center of activity,” Clark said.

In earlier discussions about moving the farmers market, officials considered Head of Falls park off Front Street along the Kennebec River, but the idea of moving to that spot concerned some business owners and market vendors who thought the location was too far away from the downtown core.

Hanne Tierney, who manages the farmers market and owns Cornerstone Farm, of Palmyra, with her husband, Dan, worked with Colby officials to help identify farmers’ needs and priorities. Architects who took part in downtown revitalization meetings presented farmers several options for the farmers market location and the farmers chose Castonguay Square over other locations, according to Carlisle.

“We were committed to staying downtown and we are glad we were able to secure this fantastic location,” Tierney said in the news release.

City Manager Michael Roy, whose office overlooks Castonguay Square, did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

But Mayor Nick Isgro said that he thinks the square is a great location for the market, as it is centrally located and convenient for shoppers and others downtown.

“I’m absolutely thrilled because when we originally knew the farmers market was going to have to move, Castonguay Square was always the number one place that I envisioned for it,” Isgro said. “It’s a park setting where people who are already in the midst of downtown can walk and go to other shops.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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