GARDINER — With the draft of a plan that’s expected to detail how to improve and revitalize Gardiner’s downtown nearing completion, the committee behind that plan is seeking public comment.

The draft of the Heart of Gardiner plan will be presented at a 6 p.m. meeting Thursday in the Children’s Room at the Gardiner Public Library. That presentation will kick off a public comment period before the plan is completed and submitted to the Gardiner City Council for consideration at its Dec. 1 meeting.

“It’s an opportunity for people to weigh in on how the downtown will look,” said Tracey Desjardins, Gardiner’s economic development director.

Since January, the Heart of Gardiner committee — a collaboration among the city, Gardiner Main Street, the Gardiner Library Association and the Kennebec Valley Council of Governments — has been working with the help of a consultant to craft a document that examines the issues downtown Gardiner is facing and how to overcome them, including being in the floodplain of the Kennebec River.

To gather information and impressions, the committee conducted a public survey and held a visioning meeting to help establish priorities. 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.

The result is expected to be a series of recommendations that can be taken up for the downtown neighborhood and its adjacent gateway areas.


“My hope is that we’ll get final comments from folks, from those who participated in the survey, and attended the visioning session, as well as new folks who have moved into the area who want to learn about the master plan,” Desjardins said.

The survey drew responses from about 240 people. About 70 attended the visioning session in July.

“It’s important to have outside perspectives look at this plan before it becomes adopted by the city,” Gardiner Main Street Executive Director Melissa Lindley said. “It’s just been a select group of people that have been reviewing it at this point. There’s always things to consider that might have been overlooked, so the more people who get a chance to look at it before it’s adopted, the better.”

This process marks the first time in two decades city officials are focusing efforts on the city’s downtown neighborhood.

The finalized plan will be presented to the City Council at its Dec. 1 meeting for consideration.

The project is being funded through a Coastal Community Grant of $33,750, awarded in 2o2o by the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Municipal Planning Assistance Program, with a match from the city’s Downtown Tax Increment Financing District.

Desjardins said people can submit comments from Thursday through Nov. 12 either through the Heart of Gardiner webpage or by email.

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