PITTSFIELD — The Town Council this week voted to move ahead with a Maine Department of Transportation partnership to provide a more comprehensive plan for updates to the town’s Main Street project.

Councilors on Tuesday heard from Jared Farn-Guillette, a DOT transportation planner, on what the program, called a Planning Partnership Initiative would entail.

The PPI allows a town to conduct a more thorough planning process for construction, in this case for Pittsfield’s ongoing efforts to update the Main Street area. Instead of looking at each piece of a project individually, it allows for a more comprehensive look at the area, and engagement with the public about how residents want a neighborhood to function.

Pittsfield officials want to improve Main Street downtown, redo sidewalks, provide landscaping and make other changes, perhaps by including water and sewer line work.

The town will work with Farn-Guillette on the project, and will hire an engineering firm to assist with studies of the area and design.

“It’s up to the town to decide, really, what the vision is, what that scope of work looks like,” Farn-Guillette said. “In that PPI, you can include details down to streetscaping and benching.”


The PPI also allows Pittsfield to consider expanding the project, as it would fall under DOT’s Village Partnership Program, and the department will help the town apply for additional federal funding for construction costs, allowing the town to go beyond previous plans for work along Main Street.

The DOT will also pay for half of the cost for the planning, with Pittsfield paying the other half. Farn-Guillette estimated that the total cost would be around $75,000, and the town would then pay half of that.

When it comes to federal funding for the broader construction, Farn-Guillette said the idea is that federal money pays for 80% of the project, the state funds 10% and then the town would pay for the final 10%.

There was extensive discussion among councilors about what exactly this partnership would look like and if it was worth the expense to the town. There were also concerns about delaying the work, as Farn-Guillette said the PPI could delay the project for two to three years.

Ultimately, councilors decided that the benefits of additional outside funding for the project and the chance to broaden the scope of work was worth it, and voted to move forward with the PPI.

In other business, the council heard from Peter Vigue, Cianbro chairman and former CEO, about the need for more code enforcement around town. Vigue said that he moved to Pittsfield 67 years ago and after about 25 years living in the town he and other residents noticed that things seemed to be going downhill.


“It was disgraceful,” Vigue said. “(In) 1976 a group of people got together. We changed this whole community.”

Now, Vigue said, he is seeing the same things. He shared a packet of photos showing properties from around town that were falling apart and had a variety of code violations.

“This is just a sample of what we look like today, and it’s deplorable,” Vigue said. “And it’s unacceptable. And it’s not who we are. We’re a hell of a lot better than that.”

The topic of code enforcement has come up previously with the council, but past proposals to hire a full-time code enforcement officer have been cut in the budget process, and councilors have been hesitant to take properties to court because of how expensive the process can be.

But councilors agreed Tuesday that the examples shown were unacceptable, and the issue needs to be a priority for the town to address.

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