WATERVILLE — The public is invited to take part Wednesday in a workshop to help redesign Castonguay Square in the heart of downtown.

The workshop, hosted by Waterville Creates!, Colby College and the city, comes amid efforts by Waterville Creates! and Colby to raise $18 million to $20 million to transform The Center next to the square into a hub for art and film.

Wednesday’s session will be held at from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the first floor of The Center at 93 Main St. and a second workshop will be held at the same time on Nov. 14 in the Chace Community Forum in the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons at 150 Main St.

Waterville Creates! earlier this year was awarded a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town program to work with the city, Colby and other entities to help redesign Castonguay Square through a community process that includes the public workshops.

Colby College, meanwhile, is investing some $65 million into helping to revitalize the downtown, having constructed a mixed-use residential complex housing 200 students, staff and faculty and renovated the building across the street at 173 Main St. which houses offices and Portland Pie Co. Colby also plans to build a hotel at the south end of Main Street downtown.

Architects from Beyer Blinder Belle, of New York, and Mitchell & Associates, of Portland, visited the city in September, toured Castonguay Square and the RiverWalk at Head of Falls, which was designed by Mitchell & Associates, and met with downtown business and property owners, city employees and those who use the Square, which is located next to City Hall.

The next step is hosting the public workshops to better understand how the square is used now and plan for how it will look and be used in the future, according to Waterville Creates! officials.

Shannon Haines, president and chief executive officer of Waterville Creates!, said in a news release that the square is a “lovely green space located in the heart of our historic downtown district, but its current design is not particularly inviting.”

“In this time of unprecedented investment in the downtown, this project will give the community an exciting opportunity to help create a dynamic, welcoming space right in the center of it all,” Haines said. “The process will also build community capacity for future projects and help to restore a sense of pride and civic engagement.”

Wednesday’s workshop will focus on how the square is used, what its strengths and weaknesses are and how its physical design supports or inhibits its potential, according to Waterville Creates! officials. Representatives from Beyer Blinder Belle have documented the square’s condition and will provide interactive tools at the session so the public may draw and mark their impressions directly onto plans and maps.

Participants at the Nov. 14 workshop will draw concepts for the square onto maps, using principles and ideas developed at Wednesday’s session. Three potential options for the square’s redesign will be developed. Central to the work will be discussions about features in the current square that should be protected, relocated, redesigned or removed.

The architects will develop preliminary design concepts following the two workshops with an eye toward presenting them to the community for feedback at a final workshop in January. A final design is expected to be presented to the City Council in February.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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