AUGUSTA — Whether downtown Water Street should be changed from one-way to two-way traffic and whether people should be allowed to drink beer or wine occasionally at special events at Lithgow Public Library are both up for debate by city councilors Thursday.

A traffic study by a consultant hired by the city determined it is possible to convert the one-way section of downtown Water Street, between Bridge and Winthrop streets, to two-way traffic, though doing so would cost about $75,000 and eliminate 12 to 16 parking spaces.

Considering changing the flow of traffic was recommended by a team of downtown experts who visited Augusta in 2013, as a way to help spur vitality and slow traffic.

City Manager William Bridgeo said the Maine Traffic Resources consultant who conducted the study will be on hand Thursday to discuss the study with councilors and the city staff. He said it would be an initial discussion of the report and there will be meetings between city officials and leaders of the Augusta Downtown Alliance, and the public, before a decision is made on whether to change to two-way traffic flow downtown.

Another question going to councilors for discussion Thursday is whether to adopt a policy to allow the city manager to, for special occasions, allow the consumption of beer and wine in the community room of the city’s public library, which underwent a major renovation and expansion in 2016.

Bridgeo said in the past library trustees have hosted social events to thank donors to fundraising campaigns, but he didn’t approve those previously because the city didn’t have a policy on whether to allow the consumption of alcohol at events at the library.


“It’d be once or twice a year,” Bridgeo said of how often events with beer and wine might take place in the library’s community room, which is just inside the main entrance. “On rare occasion there are events and functions where it’s not inappropriate to serve beverages with a light alcohol content in them.”

He said prompting the current consideration of the issue is the planned April visit to Augusta of Boston-based Consul General of Germany, Dr. Ralf Horlemann, who is coming to honor Cony High School’s German language program, one of only 13 schools in the United States selected to be part of the global network of “Schools: Partners for the Future,” a German program that recognizes partner schools with strong German programs. Horlemann expressed a desire to bring a case of German beer to share with adults at a social event planned at the library.

Councilors are also scheduled, at their 6:30 p.m. Thursday meeting in the council chamber at Augusta City Center, to discuss:

• whether to allow beer to be served during events to be held this summer on city property, including a food truck festival at Mill Park, Augusta Trails Treadfest at the Bond Brook Recreation Area, Kennebec River Day at Mill Park, and a fundraiser for the Colonial Theatre on Front Street;

• an Age Friendly Augusta Advisory Committee request to apply for $14,000 in grant funding to buy lock-boxes for senior citizens or disabled residents, which could be used by firefighters to enter their locked buildings during emergencies; and

• proposed changes to the city charter.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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