Officials want to use some of the money to conduct a survey.

LIVERMORE FALLS – Town officials and business people are celebrating the receipt of a $10,000 planning grant to be used to develop criteria for the application for a larger one for downtown revitalization.

The grant will be augmented by $2,000 from rollover funds in a previous grant and supplemented by in-kind services from merchants and the town office staff so no tax money will be involved, Town Manager Alan Gove said Thursday.

“We were rookies at it and we got selected,” businessman Bruce Adams told the Planning Board Wednesday night. “We’re learning as we go.”

This had been a grassroots effort by the Livermore Falls Downtown Merchants Association aided by the town office and Amy Landry of the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments.

It will go to selectman for a public hearing on May 5 and it must be approved at town meeting before the funds can be spent, Gove said.

However, he will be on the lookout for a consultant who does the kind of planning needed for the next application that he feels should be done by December.

That application will require cooperation from the Planning Board, use of some elements in the Comprehensive Plan, input from the public, residents and merchants, and formation of a Community Advisory Committee.

Merchants have already said they see no space in the downtown area (from St. Rose to Isaacson’s) for big-box-type stores but ample room for the development of smaller-type businesses that offer a mix of shopping opportunities, specific services and unique appearance.

The application they want to make is strictly for business revitalization, to create more jobs, not for housing or infrastructure.

They anticipate having a survey done of needs and solutions and would like to involve the economics class at the high school.

Gove also mentioned a $64,000 grant approved for a bicycle/walking path on the Foundry Road. That grant would require a $16,000 town match.

There is a major catch in this grant, however, and the funds will be available only if the Legislature and voters approve the Maine Department of Transportation’s 2004-05 Biennial Transportation Improvement Plan.

The bike path would extend up Main Street and is part of a path the state would like to have going over a wide area, looping around the river into East Livermore, Leeds, across the Twin Bridges and back to Route 4 in Livermore.

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