LEWISTON – Councilors cleared the way for $15 million worth of investment in the Southern Gateway Tuesday.

City Administrator Jim Bennett said Tuesday’s approval of a program for the Southern Gateway Development District was a formality. That program outlines the changes the city hopes to see in that area bounded by Knox, Spruce, Lisbon, Cedar and Canal streets and Adams Avenue beginning with the Oxford Networks project and continuing for 20 years.

“There is nothing here that hasn’t already been presented,” Bennett said. “This simply lays it out for people to really see and understand the impact of what we’re doing.”

According to plan, the city expects to see more than $15 million in public and private investment in the area. That includes the city’s $7 million worth of road and infrastructure improvement and the construction of a parking garage. Franklin Property Trust is expected to invest $5 million in the Oxford Networks project along Lisbon Street, and Public Theatre is expected to invest $2.4 million in its 31 Maple Street building.

The Maine Supply Company is expected to put another $2 million in renovations to its building at 415-417 Lisbon Street.

The city’s share would come from tax revenues, selling municipal bonds and Community Development Block grants, according to the program.

The Western Gateway Development District runs southwest and north from the intersection of Ash and Canal streets. It includes Bates Mill No. 5, and the Libbey Mill. Lincoln Jeffers, city business development manager, said he expects to see a program for the Western Gateway come before councilors later this summer.

“The Southern Gateway was obviously the priority at this point,” Jeffers said.

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