HALLOWELL — City Councilors unanimously approved funding for a sidewalk by the Lucky Garden, but only if “feng shui” boulders can stay.

Councilors discussed options for the stopped sidewalk with MDOT Project Manager Ernie Martin at Monday’s meeting, eventually deciding to approve $35,500 funding for a four-foot wide sidewalk if Martin thought there is enough room for it without moving boulders Lucky Garden owners Tony and Annie Huang say are important to the restaurant’s “feng shui.”

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 — 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.

The controversial sidewalk made news again last week after Highway Committee, a subcommittee of the City Council chaired by Councilor Maureen Aucoin and filled out by Councilors Diano Circo and Michael Frett, discussed the controversial issue.

A recommendation was expected from the committee at Monday’s City Council meeting, but Aucoin said no recommendation was made because the group’s design suggestions were shot down by transportation officials.

Aucoin said the committee looked at eliminating street parking to accommodate the sidewalk without moving boulders, but officials said it could not be done with existing curbing and drainage. Aucoin said Lucky Garden co-owner Annie Huang expressed her dissent to moving the rocks to the committee last week.


“She is definitely opposed to moving the rocks,” Aucoin said.

Circo, who made the motion, said he was sympathetic to the Huangs’ wish to keep their boulders, but was swayed by his constituents’ wish for an accessible path to the boat landing past the restaurant.

City Manager Nate Rudy said the funding will be taken from bond funding allocated to the reconstruction of Water Street. The cost of the sidewalk was put back into that account when it was not build last year.

Martin said building the sidewalk boils down to how much city wants to “press the issue.” He said he would survey the portion of land tomorrow and report back with a recommendation on whether or not a four-foot sidewalk would fit without moving the boulders.

The project could be tied into upcoming work on the boat landing by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. 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.

A draft plan from 2017 for the boat landing project 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.


Sam Shepherd — 621-5666
Twitter: @SamShepME

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