Lower Lisbon Street businesses know something big is coming.

LEWISTON – Dick Lepage noticed a few unfamiliar “suits” wandering around lower Lisbon Street last week.

Mostly, they gathered in the parking lot across from his lawnmower repair shop and talked, looking in the direction of his neighbor to the north, the former Good Shepherd Food-Bank at 415 Lisbon St.

Something is up, and he knows it, Lepage said.

And it’s about time.

“Every administration that’s come in up there has talked and talked about cleaning up lower Lisbon Street,” he said. “And it still looks like this. It’s a pigsty. You look into the buildings along this street, and they have old mattresses in there, and plumbing.”

City officials plan to announce a multi-million-dollar redevelopment package targeting the Lisbon Street gateway at a press conference this morning.

City Administrator Jim Bennett expects the project to work magic on Lisbon Street’s image and to help attract more development to the area.

Lepage welcomed that.

“I think it’s time to see something come out of Lisbon Street,” he said. “Every other entrance into the downtown has gotten something, so it’s about time. Lepage speculated that the city could look at his business, FHP Engine Services at 493 Lisbon St., as a site for new development.

Misty Tabor understands that feeling. The manager of the Great L-A Flea Market at 415 Lisbon St., the former food bank, she found out last week that the building’s owners have plans for the narrow, 45,000-square-foot building.

“They’re going to move us out and tear it down,” Tabor said. “That’s what we heard. We don’t know what’s going in here, but we have to be out by June 1.”

Rod Wilson, who manages the property for owners of the Franklin Co., said he didn’t know what was planned for the space.

“They just said there was going to be a lot of construction in the area,” Wilson said.

Representatives of the Franklin Co. and City Administrator Bennett declined to comment Wednesday.

The flea market is looking for a new home for its 14 dealers, Tabor said.

“I sell clothes for a dollar and there are a lot of people here that need that to survive,” she said. “I think that gets forgotten in redevelopment.”

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