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After many months of delays and modifications, the planned improvements to the city-owned Midtown Mall parking lot were approved by the Planning Board on July 7. The project includes a new pedestrian walkway through the middle of the parking lot, to connect Main St. with the stairway to the lower mall area.

Partners Bank CEO Blaine Boudreau sent an email to the Planning Board to express his approval of the project. The Bank will be contributing some paving materials for the walkway.

The walkway will be lined with benches and shade trees, and there will be additional plantings throughout the parking area, including ornamental grasses. Gro-low sumacs will provide a splash of fall color. Improvements to the lighting are also part of the plan. Four new bike racks will also be installed.

The parking lot will not be repaved at this time, however a “speed table” (like a speed bump but much wider and with a more gradual slope) will connect the walkway with the stairway between the mall buildings. There will be warning signs to alert drivers of this new feature. The speed table will make it easier for wheelchairs and strollers to cross from the walkway to the mall, while also making the parking lot safer for all pedestrians.

Benjamin Meggs, owner of the Midtown Mall, was pleased to hear that the project has been approved. He added, “For our part we would like to create better pedestrian access to St. Ignatius. We hope the community will enjoy the beautification and connection from Main St. to Gateway Park for years to come.”

The City is currently in the process of soliciting bids for the construction of the project, so a timeline for the construction is not yet set. The parking lot improvements are being paid for by a federal Community Development Block Grant. Ian Houseal, Sanford’s Director of Community Development, will be speaking with the Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee on July 13. Look for an update next week.

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