City seeks grant for downtown upgrades

Sidewalks, lights to be improved
By Daniel Dunkle | Mar 04, 2014
Photo by: Daniel Dunkle The city is seeking a grant for sidewalk improvements on downtown side streets including Elm Street.

Rockland — The city may seek a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant to improve lighting and sidewalks on downtown side streets, according to Community Development Director John Holden.

A public hearing will be held on this project Wednesday, March 5, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

As part of the grant, the city would be required to provide a $100,000 match, Holden said. However, he argued that money would have been spent by the city anyway on improvements to downtown lighting.

Holden said he has heard from downtown business owners that they would like to see improvements to sidewalks to help their businesses.

The city has been leasing the lights downtown from Central Maine Power. That lease ends in August, and the city plans to gradually take over ownership, installing new LED light fixtures and poles.

In addition, the city hopes to repair, upgrade and install sidewalks along side streets including Oak, Elm, Museum, School, Winter and Tillson. These improvements would not be entirely covered by the grant, but phased in over the course of coming years.

State and federal environmental protection regulators require improvement to sidewalk infrastructure to include work on improving storm water and waste water systems.

The City Council will likely vote to apply for the grant March 10 and the application is due by March 28. The city will hear in April or May if it was successful in receiving the grant.

Courier-Gazette Editor Daniel Dunkle can be reached at or 594-4401 ext. 122.

Comments (5)
Posted by: ALBERT E COLSON | Mar 06, 2014 22:29

Come on guys it's ONLY 100 Thousand dollars for the city to choke up.


Posted by: Joe Patten | Mar 06, 2014 08:20

There are so many sidewalks that are in need of repair, that have utility poles in them, broken pavement. The poles on Warren St have been replaced but the old ones are still in the sidewalk. There is no sidewalk on Camden St by Burger King and no sidewalk on Union by TD Bank. How did it happen that businesses were allowed to take public space, sidewalks, for their use?  The city needs to recognize that streets are not just for cars, that pedestrians and bikes belong too.

Posted by: RUTH ROWLING MAXFIELD | Mar 05, 2014 14:21


Posted by: Valerie Wass | Mar 05, 2014 09:48

Yes, I am tired of it.  If you own a business that isn't on Main St., well your pretty well screwed in getting any help for anything.  Main St. is a "click" now a days.  Yes, my huband's and mine Corporation has gotten several jobs out of the block grants which in the long run, did help our business but how many years is this funding going to keep going on.  Why not put that extra $100,000 that Mr. Holden is reporting as saying is going to be spent anyway, towards something that helps the city as a whole.  Not just one section.  Unfortunately, for any businesses that are not on Main Street, do not get the luxury of block grants to help improve their businesses.  I do not see that as fair practice.  Just sayin'....


Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Mar 04, 2014 15:12

"Holden said he has heard from downtown business owners that they would like to see improvements to sidewalks to help their businesses." 

Is anyone else tired of seeing so much money being spent on Main Street? "We only need to match it with $100,000."  General assistance cut and cut, streets a mess and we are asking for a grant to benefit merchants?? I hope to see someone run for council in November who really cares about those of us who pay our taxes while attempting to keep our homes and seldom have the funds to shop Main Street.. :(

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