SKOWHEGAN — Some upgrades are planned for the riverfront after selectmen this week gave approval to transforming a parking lot into green space meant to help attract people downtown.

Selectmen gave the OK on Tuesday for the nonprofit group Main Street Skowhegan to implement some changes in the summer months to a portion of the Riverview parking lot, which sits behind Unwined at 141 and 151 Water St.

Kristina Cannon, executive director of Main Street Skowhegan, told selectmen that the organization would like to install some fixtures in the parking lot and presented two different designs that could be used. The space overlooking the Kennebec River would include picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, planters, lighting, a canopy for shade and outdoor games. Some events would be held there.

“This idea came about a couple of years ago when we were thinking about the River Park and river development and getting more people excited about our beautiful asset that we have running through our downtown,” Cannon said.

Cannon said Main Street Skowhegan recently received grant funds that will be used for the project, which coincides with $2 million from the federal government to boost the Skowhegan River Park project. That federal money will focus on constructing riverside seating, paved walkways and access trails, a riverfront promenade and other improvements.

The pandemic had temporarily halted those plans.


“The $2 million earmark request is to fund riverfront development and river access for (Skowhegan River Park),” Cannon said. “This is kind of a precursor to that. Our goal is to get more people excited for riverfront development in general.”

The Riverview parking lot is only used on the weekends, Cannon said. The goal is to have the green space ready by the end of May. Doing this, she said, would serve as a test for “getting the public involved in the community process” related to riverfront development as well as the planned Village Partnership Initiative. That partnership, in conjunction with the Maine Department of Transportation, looks to slow traffic and promote safety measures in places where people gather to shop and dine.

Plans for Skowhegan River Park, formerly known as Run of River, call for a stairway to the river from downtown, allowing access to the park from Water Street. Audience seating would be built for viewing of events at the river gorge. Additionally, adjustable waves are planned for the river. Some 50 miles of trails also are planned for the greater Skowhegan area.

Town officials on Tuesday discussed opening the Riverview lot to food trucks and they plan to keep that option open but want to first discuss it with fire officials and code enforcement personnel.

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