BRIDGTON – The downtown revitalization of Bridgton, led by the planning and design team of Wright-Pierce and Kent Associates, was awarded the 2008 Best Planning Project by the Maine Association of Planners at an annual conference.

Wright-Pierce and Kent Associates, a Gardiner-based planning firm, has been working with the town of Bridgton since 2004 in developing a downtown revitalization master plan and implementation strategy. In concert with the town’s Economic Development Commission, a master plan was created incorporating earlier planning efforts and community outreach initiatives. Components of the revitalization plan included evaluations of existing buildings, including historic rehabilitation; traffic and parking; streetscapes and open space; infrastructure, including water, sewer and utilities; and an analysis of existing land-use ordinances in light of new development options.

The master plan was used to win implementation funding from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. Through several public/private partnerships, the downtown center has been revitalized using private funds, CDBG funds and revenues from tax increment financing initiatives.

Key improvements include renovation of the Magic Lantern Theater on Main Street; development of a commercial research facility; expansion of the Renys Department Store; and provisions for new landscaping and enhancements to public and private parking facilities.

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