Dear Sun Spots: In the June 2 paper, the Sun Journal featured a picture in the B section with the heading “Blooming. By the River.” It further states “New Park Graces City.”

Since when does the city spend who-knows-how-much to beautify land that belongs to a utility company or for any private enterprise for that matter? Is it so that they will get more money for their land once they decide to sell?

Can you also please tell me how much this new park has cost the taxpayers of Lewiston?

Also, why is it just that particular spot, especially since there are just a few buildings in the vicinity of the park?

Hoping to get some answers from someone. Thanking you in advance. – Arthur Raymond, Lewiston.

Answer: Sun Spots checked with City Hall and Lincoln Jeffers, assistant to the administrator, was happy to assist.

Jeffers says the city did not spend any money developing what’s known as Gas Light Park. The improvements were funded by Northern Utilities as part of their environmental remediation of the site.

As background, Jeffers’ notes that Northern Utilities began manufacturing coal gas in this area of the city in the 1850s. The manufacturing process left residual environmental contamination. Beginning in 1999, Northern Utilities independently and voluntarily began working with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to develop and implement a mitigation plan to clean up the area and put the land back into productive use. Most of the environmental contaminants have already been removed from the site, as well as from the Northern Utility-owned land on the other side of Lincoln Street from the park.

The ground below Gas Light Park has been engineered and constructed to stop and capture any subsurface pollutants migrating toward the river. The pollutants are captured in a sump trench and then pumped and removed off-site for disposal at a licensed facility. Gas Light Park won the “Grand Conceptor Award,” the top prize of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Maine, for their plan to remediate and redevelop the site.

Because of the environmental issues, Northern Utilities will continue to own Gas Light Park. However, it was designed and is intended to be used and enjoyed as a public park. The land on the other side of Lincoln Street owned by Northern Utilities will be redeveloped, at Northern Utilities expense, as satellite parking for downtown and to support redevelopment of nearby mill buildings.

Dear Sun Spots: The Abused Women’s Advocacy Project would like to thank our community for all the generous donations everyone has made to help our project. Over the years, your generosity has enabled the agency to provide clothing and housewares to hundreds of families transitioning to more peaceful lives.

Recently we found out that we do not have sufficient storage or staffing to manage the volume of donations we receive on a regular basis. We have also found that we frequently have an overabundance of some items, but a shortage of others. As such, we have changed our donation procedures to better reflect AWAP’s needs. We now ask donors to please make an appointment for drop-off and we are able to accept only those items on our wish list.

If you would like to make a donation, please contact Diane at (207) 795-6736, ext: 10, to make arrangements. Our current wish list includes the following items: plastic mattress covers for twin beds and pillows; new Emery boards and nail clippers; large size baby diapers; baby monitors, Polaroid film for 600 and Spectra cameras; craft/knitting supplies (no yarn please); bean bag chairs; and, a plumber’s snake. Cash donations along with gas, grocery and phone-card donations can be mailed directly to P.O. Box 713, Auburn, ME 04212, marked to the attention of Donations. Please call Diane or visit AWAP’s Web site at www.awap.org or check Sun Spots for occasional updates to this list. Thank you. – Diane Feely, Auburn.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]


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