WATERVILLE — The public on Tuesday will get a first look at a final design concept for what Castonguay Square downtown could look like in the future.

The meeting will be held from 6 to 6:45 p.m. Tuesday in the Chace Community Forum at the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons at 150 Main St. A 7 p.m. City Council meeting will follow in the same location.

The architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle, of New York, as well as Mitchell & Associates, landscape architects from Portland, will present the redesign concept, which members of the community helped develop through a series of workshops.

Castonguay Square is located next to City Hall in the heart of downtown and is used as a park, concert space and venue for small gatherings.

The redesign process was funded by a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town program, with support from the city, Waterville Creates! and Colby College, which hosted the workshops.

Shannon Haines, president and chief executive officer of Waterville Creates!, said Monday that more than 150 people contributed ideas to the redesign concept.

“It’s been a very inclusive public community design process,” she said.

The large park, which is mostly green space, has not been revamped since 1986. Those who took part in the redesign process worked to make it more user-friendly and beautiful.

The project was launched in the fall last year with meetings that included downtown business and property owners, representatives from arts and cultural organizations and city and economic development officials. Three public design meetings were held in October and November, as well as in January 2019.

“These interactive workshops explored the history of Castonguay Square, its past uses and configurations and the community’s aspirations for this important green space and how it could best serve residents and visitors in the future,” Haines said.

She said the concept will require additional design work to develop final plans for construction.

“In addition to presenting the overall design concept, the architects will also be presenting a series of detailed renderings depicting the various features of the park, including the Arthur Castonguay Memorial.”

The park was named for Master Sgt. Arthur Castonguay, of Waterville, who was wounded in action in the Château Thierry battle in Civray, France, in World War I. Two days later, on June 18, 1918, Castonguay died, the first person from Waterville to die in the war.

Through a $7.37 million BUILD grant awarded to the city, funds are available for the next phase of design and for construction of Castonguay Square, according to Haines. The timing of next steps depends on a variety of factors, including other projects planned for the downtown, she said.

She said that, although money is available in the BUILD grant, officials are not sure whether more funding will be required for the project.

The $7.37 million BUILD grant is to be used toward a $9.2 million project consisting of infrastructure improvements in downtown Waterville.

At the most recent square redesign workshop Jan. 16, Neil Kittredge, an architect from Beyer Blinder Belle who has been working on the project, presented three concepts he and other consultants developed from five concepts the community put together in former workshops.

The three architectural concepts were labeled “Flexible Plaza & Serene Green,” “Civic & Cultural Hub” and “Water Walk.”

Participants Jan. 16 broke into five groups to discuss the three concepts, and a representative from each group reported back to the larger group. They reported all five groups favored “Civic & Cultural Hub.”

That concept included a plaza in the square on the Main Street side that Kittredge said is sort of like an outdoor extension of the arts life that will take place in The Center building next to the square. That building is scheduled to be transformed into a center for art and film that will have a glass front as it meets the square. The rest of the two-thirds of the square toward Front Street would be green space with the section close to City Hall a large, grassy lawn, according to the concept.

A smaller plaza would be built in front of City Hall for memorial events and other gatherings, and the steps of City Hall would be not only to the east and west as they are now, but also to the south. A temporary stage would be in front of City Hall with a larger seating area south of that stage.

Common Street could be closed off for special events, according to the concept, and the angle of parking on Common would be changed from angle to parallel.

Haines said Monday that what the design team will present Tuesday is a much more detailed version of the final redesign concept presented Jan. 16.

Mitchell & Associates designed the RiverWalk at Head of Falls, which plays into the redesign of the square as workshop participants said it is important to have connectivity between the two.

The workshops were held as Waterville Creates! and Colby work to raise $18 million to $20 million to redevelop The Center into the art and film center and as Colby is investing millions into downtown revitalization projects.

In all three concepts, the old horse watering trough is maintained in the square.

Kittredge noted that in all the historical photographs of the square that he and others have looked at, the horse trough is present.

The final redesign concept called for maintaining the old elm tree, “Ellie,” in the square.

 

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]
Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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