Visible Community cleans up around mill

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LEWISTON – The Visible Community, a group of downtown residents, local clergy and community members who work on affordable housing issues in Lewiston, helped to clean up trash and debris and plant flowers around the Androscoggin Mill Block 269-271, Park Street, on May 13.

The mill block is located across from the Ritz Public Theatre and dates back to 1871, when it was used as duplex housing for managers of the Androscoggin Mill.

The Visible Community first became a formal group when they successfully organized to stop a boulevard from being built through the downtown residential neighborhood in 2004-2005. That road would have displaced more than 800 people. The Visible Community also turned out hundreds of residents to public meetings that discussed the boulevard project.

About half of the 20 members of the Visible Community who participated in Saturday’s clean-up picked up trash while others weeded, planted sunflowers and perennials to accentuate the positive aspects of the neighborhood.

The event was held to highlight the historic nature of the building, the potential for its reuse using historic funds and to urge the city, which owns it, to determine its use through a public process.

“We’re here to clean up and make it look better,” said Nancy Gallant of Knox Street. “We don’t want them (the city) to tear this building down – we want it to be used.” The group sees as one of its goals to organize downtown residents to have a greater voice in the city’s planning, housing development and the decisions that affect their lives.

The Visible Community holds open meetings every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at B Street Community Center.

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