Finding the Androscoggin River and Downtown LA Waterfront Could Soon be Easier
April 18, 2012
FINDING THE ANDROSCOGGIN RIVER AND DOWNTOWN LA WATERFRONT COULD SOON BE EASIER
Land Trust secures Quality of Place grant to fully design signage system to reach riverfront by car, on foot, and even boat
Lewiston-Auburn – The Androscoggin Land Trust has been awarded a grant from the Environmental Funders Network (EFN) to continue the development of an Androscoggin Greenway along the riverfront in Lewiston-Auburn and extending beyond that area north to the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park. The funding, as part of EFN’s Quality of Place Initiative, provides the necessary resources to move from a vision for a unified Androscoggin River signage system to a fully designed system ready for construction. Such signage would range from highway directional signage, helping visitors and residents find the downtown waterfront and recreational and historical resources tied to the Androscoggin, to navigational signs for those hiking or biking the river trails or paddling on the river.
While the cities of Lewiston and Auburn have invested millions of dollars in recreational facilities along the Androscoggin River over the last decade, and partners such as NextEra Energy and ALT have also provided for public access, finding those places can be a challenge and connecting all of them consistently is important for users and for marketing the entire corridor as a destination. And, with the emergence of Museum LA and its new site along the river, the potential has grown even greater for heritage tourism, and heritage-based recreational activities, that could benefit from uniform signage for the river corridor and targeted interpretive installations.
“The Androscoggin Land Trust is excited to be an active partner with the two cities and many other organizations in bringing sustained focus to the potential of the Androscoggin River, both its natural and historic landscapes, as we have for more than two decades” says Jonathan LaBonte, ALT Executive Director. “From recent reports from the National Park Service, shining a bright light on this river’s potential, to the on-going Riverfront Island and Greenway trail planning, it seemed the right time for securing resources to bring these pieces together, visually, through signage. With all of us rowing in the same direction, I am confident this will become a reality.”
The project builds on a initial scoping study that was funded last year by the National Park Service. ALT has hired ORW Landscape Architects to facilitate this process for creating the final signage package. The planning and design work will be a multi-month effort that involves various organizations including both cities, NextEra Energy, Museum LA and the Androscoggin River Watershed Council. ALT and others are already actively seeking potential sources for capital funding to move the final design of signage to implementation as soon as possible.
“The effort to reconnect Lewiston and Auburn with the Androscoggin River is key to our future. The soon to be completed Riverfront Island Master Plan will complement the existing Auburn River Walk and serve as an impetus to promote new development in an urban setting with immediate access to the river,” states Ed Barrett, Lewiston City Administrator. “This grant from the Environmental Funders Network Quality of Place Initiative will allow both communities to work closely with the Androscoggin Land Trust toward implementing a wayfinding signage program that will allow residents and visitors alike to both find and experience the natural, industrial, and cultural heritage we have to offer.”
The Androscoggin Land Trust protects important natural areas, traditional landscapes, and outdoor experiences within the Androscoggin River watershed by promoting stewardship and supporting a network of public and privately held conservation land. We currently conserve nearly 4,850 acres of land, including over ten miles of riverfront along the Androscoggin River.
The Environmental Funders Network (EFN), a joint project of the Maine Community Foundation and the Maine Philanthropy Center, launched a collaborative funding initiative in 2009, “From Vision to Action: A Commitment to Maine’s Quality of Place.” The supports projects that strengthen the link between the natural and built environments, emphasize public engagement, and take seriously the process and action elements required to build and sustain collaborations. The Environmental Funders Network has awarded over $1.5 million over three years for 15 projects