Designing a Downtown- Berwick, Maine

The Downtown Vision Committee met last night for subcommittee updates. If you haven’t been to a DVC meeting, you should try to attend at least one. The energy in the room is contagious and the ideas are amazing. There is an incredible group of people working very hard to bring these ideas to life!

The DVC was responsible for the 2nd official Berwick Christmas Tree- what a success that was!

Here are the subcommittee updates:

Friends of the Berwick Riverfront
Committee co-chairs Dennis Dupuis and Nichole Fecteau are drafting a letter to the selectmen requesting placement on the agenda in January. At the meeting they will propose their idea for the first riverfront project and ask permission to obtain quotes for the work to be done.

The Friends of the Berwick Riverfront have identified 3 phases of their vision.
Phase 1: install boat ramp on Rochester Street at the location of the old Water Department Building by June 1, 2014
Phase 2: Determine the structural integrity of Water Dept. Building and obtain finds for either repair or replacement.
Phase 3: Construct a 24×24 garage-type building with a small office and restroom.

They have started a Facebook page for updates on events they will be working on including a River Cleanup Day and Canoe/Kayak races. Facebook.com/FriendsoftheBerwickRiverfront

Their next meeting is January 8th at 5:00 at the Town Hall

Economic Development Committee
Kevin Gray and Frank Underwood were in attendance to give an update on the EDC’s efforts. They are looking into joining some local/state economic development committees/groups.
Some of their immediate goals are to tour the Prime Site, the school and the Bateman project. They are applying to be a “Business Friendly Town” in May and are organizing a polling of local businesses in town to gather information on what is working/what isn’t and what we can do to help businesses succeed.
They are looking into being a “wireless downtown” and what that entails.

Preservation and Heritage Committee
Pat and Paul Boisvert gave us an update on what the PHC has been up to. A big part of what they are doing is trying to boost school/student involvement with developing the downtown area. They are participating in a Winter Forum on January 2 at Noble High School to open a conversation with teachers and discover how students can get involved.
The committee has been busy identifying locations worth preserving in town- including not only buildings, but vistas. They are working with Berwick TV to get the word out as well. The PHC released their mission statement at the meeting: To discover, catalogue, promote, and advocate the preservation of elements of our Town’s heritage through public awareness efforts and ongoing educational outreach activities. Our goal is to maintain Berwick’s rural way of like and retain its historic values, with developing the downtown in a sustainable way.
There was also a spirited discussion of developing a town newsletter to possibly be released quarterly at first and hopefully more frequently thereafter.

Sustainability Committee
Serena Galleshaw and Jessica Sheldon were in attendance to give the report from the Sustainability Committee. The committee has identified 3 focus areas. The first item is a community garden of sorts. They have been talking to the library since there is a community-type garden there. They are currently exploring the idea of a forest garden. A forest garden is a park with gardens that are constructed similarly to a forest- with vegetation close to the ground, mid-level, and higher canopy-type plants. The forest garden idea they are exploring is an edible garden.

The second are they are focused on is the effects of the town on the Salmon Falls River and groundwater. The Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative was gracious to invite the committee members to a presentation about the watershed and impacts on water quality. The committee is looking into surface water monitoring to obtain a baseline and knowledge of water quality/our impact on it.

The third and most important effort they are working on right now is the Winter Farmer’s Market in Berwick. Serena and Jessica are working hard on this and just proposed the idea to the selectmen. The dates for the Farmer’s Market are the 3rd Sundays in January/February/March. It will be held in the Town Hall (upstairs.) The committee will be looking for volunteers to help the vendors unload, pack up, etc.

Trails Committee
The trails committee is now being headed up by Nichole Fecteau. An organization meeting will be scheduled for January to assess who is interested in being on the committee and what the focus areas are. Nichole is studying other Trail committees from around the United States to see how they operate and what they do. The goal is to have a trail around the Penny Pond area with probable access from Logan Street by the end of the Summer. John Stoll has transferred the Berwick Trails Map to .pdf form to work on in the future. The committee knows a bulk of it’s effort will be with landowner relations since all of the current trails are on private property.

Please visit our Facebook pages to stay up to date Facebook.com/envisioningdowntownBerwick
Facebook.com/friendsoftheberwickriverfront

For information on volunteering opportunities contact Nichole Fecteau at nicholefecteau@gmail.com

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