If you live in Berwick, Maine, it is very likely that you have heard of the grants the Town has recently secured to start the cleanup of the former Prime Tanning site. Wondering what is going on down there?
Recently the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast hosted a 2 day charette in Berwick. “The Charrette is meant to envision what workforce housing opportunities there may be in those communities. Community members, property owners, and an all-volunteer design team comprised of housing professionals will work together to create a vision for what workforce housing could be developed.”
As a member of the Charette Planning Committee and the Design Team, I was able to work directly with the designers, engineers and architects who were envisioning what downtown Berwick could be. This project was much different from most as we were working with an almost blank slate and envisioning an entire downtown. On Day 1 of the Charette, we hosted a site walk of the Prime Tanning and Estabrook School properties and then invited the public to identify what the Town needs. Here is what we came up with. (Thank you to our scribe, Ron McCallister for these notes.)
What would you LIKE to see? Restaurant/brewpub, senior housing, community center, small businesses, access to river, gathering places, small homes, parking, retail stores, small grocery, public transportation, repurposing, sustainability, new Main Street with amenities, walkability, character, rural atmosphere, sense of community, playground, community college, nightlife, character, old world charm, residential over commercial uses, community garden, outdoor film fest, movie theatre, affordable housing for all, open space, skate park/rink, trails, space for non-profits, shops and green space, safe bike paths, links to sites, connectivity, bandstand. These were organized into a variety of categories by Kristen Grant and Sarah Hourihane.
What would you NOT like to see? Fast food, chain stores, McDonalds, video stores, roundabouts, lots of bars, prefab row housing, big box stores, more than three story buildings, big houses/apartments, large industrial buildings.
What are some unique opportunities, considerations and challenges of this site? Senior housing in safe environment, environmental contamination, community college, traffic from Somersworth, the abundance of parking on the Estabrook land, purchase Catholic Church for housing, culture, open space, a blank slate for changes, sustainability.
Here is a design idea for the Estabrook/Doran School Parcel, which includes a Common Green (for concerts, movies in the park, gathering), Community Center, Senior Housing and Workforce Housing/Apartments over commercial space.
Below is a workup of the Prime Tanning Site which includes housing and Commercial space to include shops, restaurants and even a brewery. There is also plenty of green space, tying the whole area together.
Here are some streetscapes:
It is important to remember that this is just an envisioning process. Nothing is set in stone, there are no developers bidding on projects, this is just the first step in the process. We are so lucky to have had access to all of that talent at no cost to the taxpayers of Berwick. This is truly a positive step for the community.
About Nichole Fecteau:
I have lived and owned in Southern Maine for over fifteen years. I raised a family in Berwick, ME and my children attend the SAD 60 school district. When not listing and selling property, you can find me enjoying the mountains and lakes of Maine and New Hampshire. I am an avid hiker and have logged countless miles on the Appalacchian trail. I particularly like the rugged Northern Presidentials. Not only do I carry a backpack and tent on the weekends, I can also be found with my fishing pole in the water of backcountry rivers and ponds. My personal motto is “work hard, play hard!.”
I began my real estate career when my youngest son was about to enter Kindergarten. Sales has always been a passion of mine and I considered homes the ultimate items to sell. Once I got my feet wet in the field, I realized that Real Estate is less about sales and more about connections and helping others realize their dreams. I was hooked right from the beginning. I love helping both my clients and colleagues realize their dreams. Each day I walk into my office energized and ready for a new start with fresh challenges and rewards. My passion is selling expired listings- quickly and for top dollar. I focus on Southern Maine and am licensed in NH as well. Nothing makes me happier than giving homeowners hope in selling their homes where they thought there was none.
2012 & 2013 Associate Leadership Council
2012 & 2013 Technology Committee Chairman
Martha Squires Award
Rising Star Award
2010 Berwick Library Committee member
2011 Berwick Recreation Committee member
2013-present Friends of the Berwick Riverfront Chairman
2013-present Berwick Trails Committee Chariman
2015-present Berwick Planning Board member
2015-present Berwick Brownfield Steering Committee member