WATERVILLE — City councilors on Tuesday voted 6-0 to accept $50,000 from Waterville Development Corp. to help build a riverwalk along the Kennebec River at Head of Falls.

The $50,000 donation is part of $300,000 the city raised locally to help match a $300,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The council must take one more vote to finalize the acceptance.

The city put the $900,000 riverwalk project out to bid earlier this year, but officials rejected bids received because they were more than what the city could spend. The city plans to put the project out to bid again.

The riverwalk will include a children’s play area, an amphitheater, a gazebo and a 900-foot long boardwalk with railings at Head of Falls near the Two Cent Bridge.

City Manager Michael Roy said Tuesday that the $50,000 from Waterville Development Corp. is the first of many expected donations. A capital campaign to raise money is being formed and an announcement about it will be made soon, he said.

The RiverWalk Advisory Committee is working with Mitchell & Associates landscape designers, of Portland, on plans for the riverwalk, which will include interpretive features, panels with historical information, a restroom and a lighted walkway.

The Waterville Rotary Club in 2015 donated $150,000 toward the project as a way to celebrate the club’s centennial anniversary. Roy, who heads the committee, said earlier this year that the hope is to complete the project in time for the Rotary Club to celebrate the opening Sept. 22, 2018.

The city applied for a $300,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund managed by the National Park Service and was notified it was one of three municipalities in Maine to be approved for grant money. The funds come through the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

In addition to the Waterville Development Corp. gift, Colby College donated $75,000 for the project, Kennebec Messalonskee Trails gave $15,000, and Inland Hospital, $10,000.

The city several years ago installed water, sewer, electricity and parking at Head of Falls, which is off Front Street. In 2010 the city built a plaza west of the Two Cent Bridge that includes benches, an informational kiosk, a walkway and landscaping.

In other matters Tuesday, the council voted 6-0 to approve a two-year collective bargaining agreement between the city and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 93, which represents city office workers.

Councilors also voted to select Santec Consulting Services, of Scarborough, to help with Federal Aviation Administration grants for the city-owned Robert LaFleur Municipal Airport. According to a letter from Airport Manager Randy Marshall Jr., dated Dec. 19, the FAA has about $490,000 reserved in the airport’s capital improvement account and three projects are scheduled for 2018. They include grubbing and grading two parcels of land recently cleared of trees in future development areas and areas where transitional air space obstructions were identified, a wildlife hazard assessment plan required to be completed by 2020 by the FAA and involving a yearlong wildlife study, and purchase of a snowblower for use on the airfield.

Councilors voted 6-0 to approve a request by the Planning Board to consider rezoning 94 Silver St. so New Dimensions Federal Credit Union can build a branch there. They also took a final vote to accept money from Colby College to buy a new police cruiser.

Councilor Lauren Lessing, D-Ward 3, was absent from Tuesday’s session.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

 


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