2018-10-11 / Community News

City to hold a series of neighborhood meetings

Terry Gauvin Terry Gauvin The city of Biddeford is continuing its efforts to promote the revitalization of downtown neighborhoods with the My Neighborhood Network initiative. Through the initiative, residents of defined downtown neighborhoods meet to discuss what makes them feel connected to their neighborhood and what changes they would like to see. Following a set of three meetings this summer, two additional neighborhood meetings will be held to help identify key areas that the communities can address with help from the City and its community partners.

The next neighborhood meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Biddeford Meeting House for residents of “Tattle Corner,” the area located around Meeting House Road. An additional meeting is set for residents who live in the area between Alfred and Pike streets and between Clark and Pool streets at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 at Room 4 of J. Richard Martin Community Center. Parking will be available in the Clark Street or Myrtle Street parking lots.

During meetings, attendees will be asked to provide input on both what they like about their neighborhood and what they would like to see change. They will also look at the neighborhood map and outline their neighborhood boundaries. Community Development Coordinator Linda Waters, the Rev. Shirley Bowen of Seed of Hope Neighborhood Center on South Street, and Sarah Breul of the UNE Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition and Sullivan Street Neighborhood Hub will be present at each meeting to facilitate discussion and connect those who attend with existing resource centers in the city.

“This process gives the city an inside look at what kind of programming needs will help residents of each neighborhood while also opening the door to a direct line of contact for them to reach out to us and suggest projects they come up with them Sr. selves,” Waters said in a press release. “Strengthening neighborhoods and connecting residents through these networks is essential for growth and revitalization. It’s showing neighborhoods that they have a voice that’s being heard.”

Since the initiative began this summer, four of the identified downtown neighborhoods have been included in three initial meetings. Common topics of discussion across these meetings have included concerns about lead-based paint, pedestrian safety, and affordable housing, as well as interest in community gardens.

“The meetings have been very successful so far,” Waters said. “The South Street Neighborhood had a great turnout, and we had some kids come out to the Bacon Street meeting and heard their perspective. We’re learning about the things that we need to work on, but we’re also hearing that things have already been changing for the better and neighborhoods have been becoming quieter and nicer places to live.”

Tattle Corner was first identified as a neighborhood in My Neighborhood Network when Louise Merriman, a member of the Biddeford Historical Society Board of Directors, contacted Waters after hearing about the initiative.

“The neighborhood initiative is a powerful way to connect the community and gives us all an opportunity to engage in history,” Merriman said. “Knowing the history of a neighborhood invests neighborhoods with meaning and context, and gives us all a sense of pride to know that we are part of something bigger.”

For more information or to schedule a neighborhood meeting, contact Linda at lwater@biddefordmaine.org or 284-9105. A map outlining the boundaries of the identified neighborhoods can be found at https://tinvurl.com/BiddefordNeighborhoodMap.

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