2017-03-16 / Letters

Let’s talk about making Biddeford great

To the editor:

Have you ever thought about where you came from? How your family ended up in Biddeford? What was it like for those who came here years ago and founded the city? Why are there so many mill buildings? Why so many churches?

Well, as an amateur genealogist, I have thought about all of this and find it fascinating. I am particularly interested in the Franco-American heritage, but given the fact that there were Native Americans, English, Irish and many others here before the French-Canadians, it is safe to say they all contributed to Biddeford as it is today and will continue to be.

Biddeford is growing by leaps and bounds and is an eclectic community. It has much to offer and is rich in history, some of which will be forgotten if it is not preserved for future generations. There are the mills, churches, schools, organizations, music, art, food culture and most importantly, the people. There are organizations that work hard to preserve this history such as Biddeford Historical Society, York County Genealogical Society of Franco-Americans, McArthur Library, The Mill Museum and Heart of Biddeford, along with many other groups.

I believe that some sort of heritage and cultural center would be a great asset for the city and its people and, given the rapid growth going on in the city at present, now is the time to act on this idea.

A Biddeford Heritage and Cultural Center (or whatever else it could be called) would bring more tourists into the city, people like me who travel to do research. It would preserve the history of the city and those around it. It would help to educate future generations and could serve as a general repository of sorts for those artifacts being stored in attics, other houses or thrown away at times. It could work as a coalition with other groups or as an umbrella organization for those groups if they desired. Since housing and funding are a problem, even a webpage with links to other organizations listed might be a good start, but how great would it be to eventually have space in a mill building, an open storefront space on Main Street or even in an old church?

That said, I have scheduled a meeting 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 18 at McArthur Library on Main Street in Biddeford to discuss the idea. I would love to have anyone interested attend to discuss thoughts, ideas, share stories, make recommendations and some who might be willing to work on a steering committee of sorts.

I believe if we all work together, anything is possible. Hope to see you there.

Diane Cyr Biddeford

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