AUGUSTA — City councilors’ proposed goals for the coming year include exploring building a road into the Kennebec Lockes development site, focusing on redevelopment of the northern end of downtown and expanding the city’s presence on social media.

They also want to try attracting a sports team to Augusta, look into becoming a high-speed broadband provider, support the establishment of substance abuse treatment programs and facilities in the city and explore the establishment of a city-owned homeless shelter.

Those potential goals, and several others, derive from a nearly daylong goal-setting session of councilors and the city’s department heads last month. They are expected to go to city councilors for discussion Thursday. If councilors agree on the goals as outlined in a document prepared by Hallowell consultant Frank O’Hara, who facilitated the councilors’ January goal-setting session, with input from City Manager William Bridgeo, they could vote the goals for the coming year into place next week.

Bridgeo said each year he keeps the ever-shifting list of council goals at hand on his desk, and he refers to them often.

“This, to me, is an important process. It gives us a strong sense of direction and helps us prioritize our course of action during the year,” Bridgeo said Wednesday. “I can’t count the number of times I’ll pick up and reference the document.”

Among the draft goals are a few repeats, carried over from previous years. Those include a general goal that has made the council goals list each year since at least 2016, with various wording, of ensuring that drug addiction treatment is available to residents.

This year a proposed goal, noting that on average one person dies from a drug overdose every day in Maine, specifies the city should support the establishment of substance abuse treatment programs and facilities in the city.

Another draft goal is to explore establishing a city-owned or sponsored homeless shelter, in large part because the only homeless shelters here now, run by Bread of Life Ministries, often are full and turn away people looking for a bed.

Multiple proposed sub-goals seek to address a larger goal of promoting high-quality development. They include potentially accelerating development of the riverside city-owned former Statler mill site, renamed Kennebec Lockes by the city, by bringing a road and utilities into the site; focusing on redevelopment of the northern end of the downtown Water Street area, including working on the area between the train trestle and Mill Park and helping with fundraising for the proposed Colonial Theatre renovation; and promoting the development of new housing especially market-rate housing attractive to working people and millennials.

Other goals, both part of a larger goal to “market the Augusta brand,” would be to step up Augusta’s online presence with a more active social media site and website, and a phone app, and to try to attract a sports team to Augusta, such as a semi-professional baseball team like the one that was based in Augusta many years ago.

One proposed goal is creating a five-year budget to show how, based on current fiscal practices and trends, the city could maintain a stable tax rate while still meeting its needs for capital improvements.

The meeting at which councilors are expected to discuss the goals begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the council chamber at Augusta City Center.

Councilors also are scheduled to:

• Discuss a proposed change to the Mass Gathering Ordinance, clarifying the deadline by which applicants need to submit their permit requests;

• Resume an ongoing discussion about the City Charter review process; and

• Discuss possibly having a special election to fill a vacant school board position on June 12, the same day as the gubernatorial primary and expected school budget validation vote.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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