GARDINER — The last time city officials approved a master plan for the city’s downtown was more than two decades ago.

On Wednesday, when the City Council meets for the first time this year, it will consider awarding a contract for the next master plan for the city’s historic downtown thanks to a Coastal Community Grant that was awarded in mid-2020.

In all, a city committee interviewed four firms and scored three of them, based on their experience with downtowns and waterfronts. It recommended awarding the contract to Dubois & King, from Randolph, Vermont, for $42,000.

The grant, which is part of the state’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Municipal Planning Assistance Program, awarded $33,750. The balance of the consultant’s contract cost is the local match, funded by revenue from the city’s Downtown Tax Increment Financing district.

The master plan is expected to draw from existing plans and use elements of sustainable development to build on Gardiner’s reputation as “a place of economic, recreational, social and natural resource growth,” according to the project’s description.

To create this plan, Melissa Lindley, executive director of Gardiner Main Street, said public input will be key.

“We want this to be a plan that people care about and want for the city,” she said. “Hopefully, there will be some easy ways to do that.”

Gardiner Main Street is one of the partners who sought the grant funding; the others were the city of Gardiner, the Gardiner Library Association and the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments.

The Gardiner City Council meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, meetings take place virtually and are aired via Facebook Live.

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