HALLOWELL — The sidewalk may not end at Lucky Garden after all, if a City Council subcommittee has its way.

Hallowell officials said a recommendation to the City Council to add sidewalk construction to an upcoming renovation of the state boat landing will likely be finalized at a Thursday meeting of the Highway Committee. That committee is chaired by Councilor Maureen AuCoin, and rounded out by Councilors Diano Circo and Michael Frett.

In December 2018, councilors asked City Manager Nate Rudy to look into finishing a stretch of sidewalk — halted during Water Street’s reconstruction at the request of the owners of the Lucky Garden to keep a set of boulders important to the business’s “feng shui” — from the eatery to the northern entrance of the state boat landing. It was also mentioned in December 2018 that the sidewalk could be added to an upcoming renovation of the boat landing.

Rudy said Maine Department of Transportation officials estimated the sidewalk would cost $35,500 in February, but the committee is looking into design changes that could reduce the cost.

“One of the concerns had been, since the decision (was made) to not put there sidewalk there, (was) design changes had put some structures in the way of where the sidewalk was supposed to go,” Rudy said, adding that the project would be less expensive if there were not structures that would have to be removed.

Rudy said the restaurant owners have been contacted by city officials and will be included in any designing that may affect their property — or their boulders.

“The boulders are a design factor, and we’re still trying to figure out what to do there,” Rudy said Wednesday. “The sentiment was the councilors on the Highway Committee were supportive of having the sidewalk extend to the boat launch park.”

Rudy said he attended meetings with transportation department Project Manager Karen Libby and Hallowell Public Works Director Chris Buck about the potential addition of the sidewalk. He said he was acting as a liaison between concerned parties.

Thomas Linscott, director of the Boating Facilities Program at the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said work to the boat landing could be put out to bid this fall. Work would include a total reconfiguration of the paved area of the boat landing and repairs to the boat ramp.

“We’re limited to a certain timeframe to get the water work done,” he said. “It may end up as a two-phase project.”

The ramp to the floating dock stored on the ground at the state boat launch Wednesday on the banks of the Kennebec River in Hallowell. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

A draft plan from 2017 shows a more open traffic pattern that would make it easier for vehicles towing boats to traverse and increase the net number of parking spots. Some of the design could remove trees in the boat landing, but Linscott said a landscaping plan has not been finalized.

“I have been contacted by the city …  (and) I think they have some ideas,” he said. “This is still pretty preliminary.”

Linscott said adding the controversial sidewalks onto the plan has “not come up” in initial planning. The draft plan does not show any sidewalks nor the area in front of Lucky Garden.

Aucoin and Circo did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this report, and Frett yielded to Aucoin for any comment.

 

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666
[email protected]
Twitter: @SamShepME


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