Board: Lewiston City Council

Met: Tuesday night


Issue: Lewiston has about 3,418 streetlights in its network, costing the city $500,000 a year in electricity. There are several kinds of lights in use, including high- and low-pressure sodium lights, mercury vapor, incandescent and LED fixtures. City staff has been counting each in an effort to track them, see how much they cost the city and how widely they are spaced from one another.

The scoop: A proposed policy would create three streetlight zones. In the busier, more dense downtown zone, lights would be spaced about 220 feet apart. In the next, less dense zone, lights would be about 440 feet apart. Lights in the third, more rural zone, would be maintained at intersections, dead ends, cul-de-sacs and on steep hills.

If adopted, the new policy would let the city reduce the number of streetlights it keeps and maintains. Roughly 1,100 would be removed over three years, all in the rural third zone. About 250 would be added. That could save the city about $25,000 next year.

Up next: Councilors said they needed more time to discuss the plan and directed staff to mark streetlights that would be removed to help notify neighbors.

Raising chickens

Issue: Councilor Robert Reed said some of the residents in his ward have asked whether they can keep chickens for their own use after the city of Portland began allowing it in February.

Up next: Councilors said it was worth discussing and directed staff to research the idea and bring it back to the council for further review.

Tobacco ban

Issue: Concerned about smoking around children, councilors last summer discussed creating a ban on tobacco products in city parks and athletic fields. They stopped short of adopting new rules last fall.

The scoop: A new version of the ban would make it illegal to use any tobacco product at the Kennedy Park skate park, pool and play fountain and at any city basketball court. Tobacco products would be banned from all city parks and fields 30 minutes before any city- or school-sponsored event. The city would give out warnings for the first year.

Councilor Robert Reed said the proposal was a “feel good, do nothing” measure and favored a total ban on smoking in city parks and fields. Councilors Denis Theriault and Betty Dube agreed.

Up next: The council approved the new ban on first reading by a 4-3 margin, and will vote on it a second time at its next meeting.

Pettingill sale

Issue: With the new Geiger Elementary School coming on line this fall to replace Pettingill School, the city could find itself with a large building on its hands.

The scoop: Councilors discussed taking proposals for redeveloping the building. That could include demolishing the old school at 411 College St. or reusing it. Developers will have until July 14 to submit their plans for purchasing and reusing the building.

Up next: Councilors agreed to take ownership of the building once classes wrap up for the year. They’ll get word back on the proposal process in July.

Trash cans

Issue: The city’s Youth Advisory Council painted and decorated 55-gallon drums last year to be used as downtown trash receptacles. The idea was to clean up and bring color to the downtown while encouraging residents not to litter.

The scoop: Landlords who agree to adopt, empty and maintain one of the 22 drums could qualify for benefits from the city – including solid waste collection credits or extra trips to the Lewiston sanitary landfill.

Up next: Councilors agreed that it sounded like a good idea. They’ll offer incentives for landlords to adopt the cans and make sure they are emptied regularly on a one-year trial basis.

Mayors for peace

Issue: Last year, the cities of Lewiston and Auburn successfully lobbied the state to rename the bridge between Little Canada and New Auburn in honor of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Bernard Lown. That move caught the attention of Tadotoshi Akiba, the mayor of Hiroshima, Japan. He has invited Lewiston’s Larry Gilbert to join the Mayors For Peace group.

That’s an international lobbying group, started in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, promoting the total elimination of nuclear weapons and the realization of world peace by the year 2020. The group counts 2,536 member cities internationally, in 133 countries or regions.

The scoop: The topic is far beyond the city’s purview, councilors said. They declined to endorse the group, despite Gilbert’s insistence.

Contact government reporter Scott Taylor via phone at 689-2846 or via E-mail at [email protected]

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